New Year…Time to Take a Fresh Look at Your Finances?

January 28th, 2016 by Scott Spiering

[grwebform url=”https://app.getresponse.com/view_webform_v2.js?u=BOdmh&webforms_id=3572505″ css=”on” center=”off” center_margin=”200″/]A new year is a great time to take a fresh look at your finances. That’s why we wanted to share with you some start-of-the-year steps you may want to consider that could have a big impact on your finances throughout 2016 — and beyond:

Make a financial New Year’s resolution (and ask for help). The number one resolution nationwide year after year, not surprisingly, is to lose weight. What about making some financial New Year’s resolutions? Research shows that Americans are more likely to achieve personal finance-related resolutions than those involving fitness and health. Remember, the more specific the goal, the better. You are far more likely to stick to a goal if it is measurable and written down. Also, tell your goal to a friend, parent, or your financial planner, so that you have some accountability!

Look into refinancing. Although rates have been low for years now, we expect them to be on the rise this year. Many Americans still have higher-rate home loans, some in the 8 to 9 percent range! Even if your mortgage rate isn’t that high, you still may benefit from refinancing. Refinancing can lower your monthly mortgage payment, shorten the length of time it takes to pay off your home and if you have equity in your property, can even be a source of cash. Even if you weren’t able to refinance into a lower-rate home loan in the past, you owe it to yourself to visit a mortgage lender to see whether refinancing makes sense for you today. If you’re nearing retirement, it may make sense to shorten your loan period with a 10- or 15-year home loan option.

Consider going ‘green’. Many simple changes can translate into big savings on your energy costs. Could this be the year you swap out older windows for new energy-efficient ones? Or look into a solar hot-water heating system? Don’t forget to do a bit of research to see if you are eligible for any rebates or incentives from your utility company, city or state, for switching to more energy-efficient products or appliances.

Look for ways to save on recurring expenses. A new year is a great time to examine major spending categories, including your cellphone, cable service and utilities. Are you paying for any features or time you aren’t using? Could you go with a cheaper plan? What about your land line- is it time to cut the cord? Call your service providers and see if they have any less expensive plans, promotions or ideas to help you save money. Shop around or ask for a better rate from the companies you regularly pay money to.

Schedule an insurance checkup. Meet with your insurance agent to see if you are taking advantage of any available discounts. It’s also a great time to see if you have the right types of coverage for you and your family. Ask about opportunities to save money by bundling insurance policies or having your auto and homeowners policies with the same company. Ask about an umbrella insurance policy. They aren’t just for wealthy people. In today’s litigious world, they’re making sense for more and more families.

Set your savings on autopilot. Save more by budgeting a percentage of your income to savings before you spend it. Consider having an amount from your paycheck automatically diverted into a savings account or other savings vehicle. If your employer doesn’t offer this option, talk with your financial advisor about setting up an automatic transfer into your portfolio right after your paycheck hits your account. With automatic savings plans, you don’t have to remember to save. And you’ll be surprised just how quickly automatic savings add up.

Pay down/off your credit cards. The psychological effect of debt can crumble your financial confidence. Research shows that even many high-income families throughout the United States carry a heavy credit card debt load. A financial planner can help you evaluate your current debt and construct a plan of action for paying it off and directing money to savings. Now is a great time to get started!

We’re here to help you reach your financial goals! At Anchor Bay Capital, we serve people of all ages, life stages and levels of wealth. Our financial planning process is designed to help you evaluate where you are currently, create an action plan for your goals, and help you track and monitor your progress.