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Financial Watch | January 2024

Financial Watch | January 2024

January 23, 2024

5 Ways to Boost Financial Wellness in 2024

Similar to your physical and mental health, your financial well-being can benefit from incorporating healthy habits as you seek to head off challenges and remain on track toward your goals. Below are five steps for improving financial wellness in the new year.

1. Set goals

Goal setting is the key to living life intentionally. Goals are like steppingstones, leading you along a path to the lifestyle you want now and well into the future. Revisiting your goals at least annually and updating them regularly will help keep you on track and ensure that each financial decision you make is aligned with your objectives, from monthly spending to your investment strategy.

2. Create a budget

A budget is an essential tool for monitoring what’s coming into and going out of your household each month. It can help you identify ways to save more, keep spending in check, and manage debt. Consider one of the free budgeting apps available online or through your financial institution. Digital budgeting tools can aggregate data from your bank and credit card accounts so you can monitor savings and spending in real time.

3. Shore up emergency savings

Nearly 4 in 10 Americans lack enough money to cover a $400 emergency expense, according to the Federal Reserve.1 Setting money aside for unplanned expenses is critical for financial well-being and can prevent you from taking on unnecessary debt when faced with unanticipated expenses. Ideally, your emergency reserves should be held in a liquid account, such as a bank savings or checking account. Even if you can only save a small amount now, you can continue to build your emergency fund over time by budgeting a designated amount to save each month.

4. Maximize retirement plan contributions

One of the most effective ways to move closer to your long-term financial goals is to participate in a workplace retirement plan such as a 401(k) or 403(b) plan. Contribute as much as you can each year up to the maximum annual contribution rate. If you’re not able to contribute the maximum, contribute enough to receive full employer matching contributions if your employer offers a match. If you’re self-employed, consider an individual 401(k), profit-sharing plan, or SEP IRA to defer a percentage of your compensation.

5. Manage debt

Certain types of debt, such as mortgage, education, and car loans, can help you accomplish some of your most important life goals. However, other types of debt, such as credit card debt, can stop you in your tracks if not managed properly. While credit cards can be a lifesaver for getting you out of a bind or covering an unexpected expense, they must be used judiciously, due to the high interest rates on revolving balances. Managing credit card debt also helps you maintain a strong credit score, which lenders use to determine your creditworthiness and the interest rate you qualify for when borrowing.

6. Keep an eye on taxes

Most Americans look forward to closing the book on taxes after filing their annual returns. However, if you want to ensure you’re not paying more than your fair share, tax planning needs to be a year-round endeavor. It’s important to communicate with your tax and financial professionals throughout the year, especially when you experience changes impacting your income or lifestyle.

If you have questions about your current strategy or additional ways to help build and manage wealth along your path to financial well-being, call the office to schedule a meeting.

1) “Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2022 – May 2023.” Federalreserve.gov, 2 JUN 2023, https://www.federalreserve.gov/publications/2023-economic-well-being-of-us-households-in-2022-expenses.htm.

This information was written by KRW Creative Concepts, a non-affiliate of the Broker/Dealer.

This communication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information on the subjects covered. It is not, however, intended to provide specific legal, tax, or other professional advice. For specific professional assistance, the services of an appropriate professional should be sought.

Some IRAs have contribution limitations and tax consequences for early withdrawals. For complete details, consult your tax advisor or attorney.