Money Fix: Financial New Year's resolutions
In a recent Fidelity Investments survey a record number of people -- 46 percent of those polled -- said they are considering financial resolutions. Most vow to save more, spend less and pay off debt. What's on your list? Better still, what should be on it?
Dig out of debt. In this post-financial crisis era, this is priority No. 1, says Jon Ulin of Ulin Financial in Boca Raton, Fla. Create an action plan and timeline for paying your credit card debt as soon as possible. Defer any "instant gratification" purchases until you can pay for them with cash.
Create a budget. Maybe you've been winging it. That luxury is gone. "Do a budget to deal with the bite of increased taxes and health care costs," says Louis Biscotti, a CPA and partner with WeiserMazars in Woodbury. Calculate monthly income and expenses. Websites such as mint.com can help you monitor your budget and spot spending patterns, says Katie Coleman, an Ameriprise financial adviser in Melville.
Save more. If you're already saving, increase it as much as you can stand. If you're not, get going. Have money automatically deducted from your paycheck for retirement, education or vacation, says Coleman. Don't forget a rainy-day fund -- enough to live on for at least 3 to 6 months, longer if possible.
Protect your identity. It's easier than ever for ID thieves to get your information. Says Ken Lin, CEO of CreditKarma.com, "Make a conscious effort in 2013 to change passwords, shred documents and monitor your accounts for suspicious activity quarterly."