Five Smart Financial Resolutions

"Manage finances wisely" is a popular New Year's resolution, but it can be tough to stick to a goal so vague. 

Here are some specific ways to help you get money-smart in 2024.

1. Maintain an emergency fund. Many financial experts recommend having three to six months' worth of living expenses in a liquid savings account. Set up an automatic transfer to a savings account to help make saving both hassle-free and easy to access.

2. Save for retirement. Making regular contributions to an employer-sponsored retirement plan or an individual retirement account (IRA) can make a big difference when you reach your retirement years. Automatic paycheck transfers, if available, can help you stick to this resolution with ease.

3. Pay off debt. If "pay off" seems too lofty, focus on whittling down debt by paying more than the required minimum amount. Refinancing to a lower interest rate (for a home or car loan) may also help you pay down debt faster.

4. Build great credit. Making payments on time and handling credit responsibly will raise your credit score, a number considered for a large loan such as a mortgage, getting a job or even renting an apartment in some cases. 

5. Talk about estate planning. It's not the most fun topic to think about, but it is important for your family's future. Make it a goal to talk about estate planning with aging parents and/or your spouse to help you make decisions and form a plan.