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We’re a full month into the New Year and many of us are already losing interest in the goals we set 30 days ago. Skipping the occasional yoga class or spending an afternoon or two binge watching Netflix is unlikely to really hurt you in the long run. However, ditching the financial promises you made to yourself as 2015 became 2016 just might. Whether you’re still going strong or need to revive your faltering commitment, these could be the most important resolutions to try to keep this year.

Paying Off Your Debt

Many of us have been paying historically low interest rates on our mortgages, credit cards and other debts for the past several years. However, the Federal Reserve plans to raise the Fed Funds Rate, a benchmark rate many lenders use to determine the interest charged on their products, multiple times this year. When they do so, the annual percentage rate (APR) on any variable rate credit cards will also rise. So will the interest rate on adjustable rate mortgage loans.

In short, many of your debts may suddenly become more expensive—so it’s important to get to work paying them down. If you’re dealing with multiples, start making extra payments towards the one with the highest interest rate, then move on to the next.

Building an Emergency Fund

You wouldn’t get on a ship that wasn’t equipped with life boats, right? Nor should you sail through life without a life boat of your own—in the form of an emergency fund. Experts recommend saving enough to cover a minimum of three months of expenses, though six months-worth is even better. If you’re currently without enough disposable income to enable you to sock some away, look for areas in your budget where you can cut back and put those liberated funds into an easily accessed savings or money market account.

Save More for Retirement

According to the Employment Benefit Research Institute’s 2015 Retirement Confidence Survey, only 22 percent of American workers are “very confident” in having enough money for a comfortable requirement. While 36 percent are “somewhat confident,” 24 percent are “not at all confident” in the same. Experts recommend putting at least 10 percent of your annual income into retirement accounts each year—if you can. If that’s not possible right now, start with a smaller percentage and aim for small increases whenever you can.

Review Your Investment Strategy

Arrange a time to meet with your financial advisor and take stock of your investments. Discuss whether they are still in alignment with your risk tolerance and goals. Reallocate your assets as necessary to maintain a comfortable level of diversity. While you’re at it, consider any life changes made during the past year—such as marriage, divorce or the birth of a child—and modify your plan beneficiaries as well.

Whether you’re tackling one or all of these resolutions this year, we’re here to help you stay on track. Please don’t hesitate to give us a call for financial planning insight or to schedule a review of your current retirement investment portfolio or other products.


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