Steps to achieve your financial goals

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Prepare for financial success this year!

You can achieve your financial goals with these helpful tips:

1. Check your credit file and establish your credit history

You are entitled to a free credit report each year at annualcreditreport.com. If you find any errors, file a dispute with the credit bureaus. Only use your credit card for purchases that you can repay in full each month. Using a credit card responsibly will help you build your credit history and increase your credit score. A good credit score means you’ll have lower interest rates and payments on any new loans you take out.

2. Evaluate your starting position

First, figure out where you stand financially. Create a baseline that maps your spending and saving habits, using statements and other helpful documents from the past two years. As you set specific financial resolutions for 2022, this baseline will be a great reference point to see where you can make changes that will help you achieve your goals.

3. Open a bank account

If you don’t have a bank account, start the new year by opening an account that’s safe, affordable and suited to your needs.

4. Prioritize

It can be tempting to set multiple goals for your finances, such as creating and sticking to a budget, paying off debt, or saving for a big purchase. However, setting too many goals can be overwhelming and often creates conflict. Consider what the highest priorities are to help direct your efforts towards what you think is most important in 2021.

5. Establish timelines

Many financial goals are categorized into short, medium, and long term goals. Although medium and long term goals are usually more than a year long, they are perfect to set and start working on now! No matter what kind of financial goals you set, be sure to set timelines for them. It can help you better understand the steps you need to take, like how much and how often you should contribute to your savings, pay your bills, and monitor your spending habits.

6. Track your progress

It is crucial that you regularly monitor your progress. Are you on the right track and making progress towards your goals? If your answer is yes, you are more likely to experience success at the end of the year. There are many ways to track the progress of your goal. For example, a budget is a great way to monitor how your spending and savings are changing throughout the year. Other options are apps you can download to your phone or trackable spreadsheets specific to your unique goals.

7. Develop and stick to a budget

Start by looking at your credit card and bank statements from the last quarter. If you spend more than you earn or are unable to save enough, spending should be reduced. Budgets are only as good as your ability to stick to them, so you need to be disciplined to follow yours to get your finances in order.

One way to determine how much you can afford to spend is to apply the 50/30/20 rule to your monthly net income, based on NerdWallet. The goal of this budgeting method is to allocate your money as such: 50% for needs, 30% for wants, and 20% for savings and debt repayment. Click here for more tips.

8. Make it fun

Although financial goals can sometimes be difficult to achieve, they should not be seen as a chore. By adding fun to your financial resolutions, you can happily revisit them when the year is finally over. For those who like challenges, consider trying challenges to save some money. If you’re very incentive-driven, offer a small treat when you’ve saved a certain amount. If you have a certain hobby that can earn you money, consider adding it to your money-making efforts so you can have fun while saving.

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