You have your New Year’s resolutions in mind — exercise, eat right, spend more time with friends — but what have you promised to do about your finances?
Here’s what should top your list.
- Pay attention to the economy
Review the interest rate on your mortgage, for example. “Interest rates have been at all-time lows for the last decade” and have begun to rise, says Brian Mills, a retirement benefits specialist with AXA Advisors in Bohemia. “If you’ve been sitting on the sidelines, waiting for the best opportunity to refinance or to tap your home equity, 2017 may be your last opportunity to capitalize on these ultralow rates.”
Rising interest rates means some people’s monthly payments will get more expensive. “Make a resolution to save more in preparation,” says Heather Battison, vice president of TransUnion, in Kansas City, Missouri.
- Talk about money
“Commit to having one difficult money-related conversation, even if the idea of it makes your stomach lurch,” says Brandon Krieg, co-founder and CEO of Stash, an investment app. While he admits talking about money can be hard to do, “conversations about money can also be some of the most important that you will have in life. Talk to your significant other, parents, peers or boss at work.”
- Eliminate credit card debt
Getting rid of debt is a priority. “While I don’t advocate it, taking a loan against a personal 401(k) plan is a good alternative,” Mills says. “It puts you on a fixed payment plan through payroll deduction while drastically reducing the unneeded burden of high interest rates. It’s much easier to pay yourself back at 0 or 1 percent as opposed to 12.99 APR.”