Five financial goals for 2016
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Every year, people set New Year’s resolutions and every year, most people let them fall by the wayside. If your goal is to learn a foreign language, travel to Zimbabwe, or finally master knitting, it may not be a big deal to postpone those goals. But when it comes to your physical health – or your financial health – setting realistic goals and sticking to them is an absolute must. Here are five financial goals to consider for New Year’s 2016.
#1 Always Know Where You Stand
Many people don’t know how much total debt they have, whether they have a tolerable amount of debt for their income, what their credit score is, or how to improve their credit score strategically. If you’re struggling with debt, you may take an “ignorance is bliss” approach, but that’s not a good idea. Pull your credit reports – all three – and check for inaccuracies then clean them up. From there, periodically monitor your credit score so you know how you’re doing.
#2 Set Short and Long Term Goals
Even if you’re not a big planner, you need short and long term spending and financial goals to keep you on track. For short term goals, consider improving your credit score, paying off credit cards, or accelerating the payoff on your car loan. For longer term goals, you may want to buy a house, pay off your student loans and start a retirement account and make regular investments in your long-term future. You know the saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” That’s not a cliché – it’s a truism.
#3 Make Yourself Save
Saving money isn’t fun – seriously – spending money is far more enjoyable. But eventually, that habit will catch up to you when you have a financial crisis and don’t have an emergency fund. It can be something small like your refrigerator going bust or a car repair or something major like a medical crisis that causes significant out of pocket expenses. If you don’t have a financial cushion, even a relatively minor event can wreck your finances. Plus, you need money for retirement.
#4 Snip Your Overspending
One of the best ways to find money to save is to stop spending so much. Critically assess your spending habits and pare back. Do you have all the premium pay cable channels? Ditch them and wait until stuff turns up on Netflix. Start carpooling, packing a lunch, don’t replace things until they are broken, consider consignment shopping for clothes, and cut back on (or eliminate) vices like drinking, smoking and gambling. You can save big bucks cutting back, and you may not miss what you cull.
#5 Consider Bankruptcy for Debt Dilemmas
If you’re drowning in debt and can’t afford to pay your bills, that’s a problem. You may be able to correct your course by cutting back on your spending, setting a budget and developing a get-out-of-debt strategy. But if your debts are so excessive that you can’t service them even with lifestyle adjustments, it may be time to chart a new course. Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you time to catch up on past-due balances while Chapter 7 offers sweeping debt relief and wipes out credit card debts, medical bills, and more.
If you are considering bankruptcy to get yourself out of debt and enjoy a fresh start, doing it along with the New Year can be a perfect way to start out 2016 on track financially. Chapter 13 bankruptcy gets you on a repayment plan right away that allows you to get caught up on your car note or mortgage that can save you from repossession or foreclosure. Chapter 7 can wipe out unsecured debts completely within a couple of months.
You can start the New Year with your debt under control and have a happy and financially healthy 2016. Contact the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt for a free North Carolina bankruptcy consultation today. Call +1-919-646-2654 for a free appointment at one of our locations in Raleigh, Durham, Fayetteville, Wilson, Greensboro, Garner or Wilmington. Call now for a debt-free New Year.