NORMAN — According to Forbes, nearly 40 percent of people make New Year’s resolutions, but only 8 percent achieve their goals.
Whether or not you have already made resolutions for 2014, consider taking a look at your personal and family finances to identify areas of financial improvement this year.
“Most of the time, we are focused on setting and achieving goals that have to do with physical health,” said Suzanne Symcox, executive vice president of First Fidelity Bank. “Financial health is just as critical. If you are struggling with finances, it can affect everything, from your credit score to your stress level.”
First Fidelity Bank is offering advice to help residents achieve their financial goals.
Calculate your earnings and required spending in the next year. Unforeseen circumstances may arise, but make a rough estimate of fixed expenses for the year. If you have money left over, determine whether it is financially wise to spend in other areas, like a new car or a family vacation.
Identify areas of financial improvement. Take a close look at spending habits and frequencies to determine if you can tighten up in certain areas.
If you are using your credit card for every purchase and not paying the balance off monthly, consider giving your credit card a rest and operating on a cash-only basis until you can pay it off.
Or, maybe you have a loan payment you have deferred. Consider starting repayment early, if you have the available funds. The earlier you start paying, the less time the loan will hang over your head.
Revisit savings plans and increase your goal. Take a look at how much you are putting away into savings and consider increasing the amount this year. By doing so, you could have enough money saved to do the home improvements you’ve been planning or make a down payment on a new car in no time.
If your employer offers a 401k plan, take advantage of it. Typically, the amount taken out of your paycheck is not noticeable, so it’s easy to set this up and let it build over time.
Finally, take advantage of tools and resources. For example, a variety of savings calculators on FFB.com are available to help residents set and achieve savings goals.
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