Make New Year’s resolutions to stay physically fit. And fiscally fit.

Couple looking at financialsAfter indulging in the feasts of the holidays, people commonly resolve to lose weight and get in shape. But another important goal should be to better manage your money and prepare for a secure financial future.

Here are some New Year’s resolutions that experts at Fidelity Investments and elsewhere suggest you consider.

Spend less. Look for easy ways to reduce your monthly expenses. These could include refinancing to a lower mortgage rate, shopping around for a better insurance rate and switching to a lower-priced cellular provider.

Save more. Consider setting up automatic transfers each month into a designated account for savings or retirement. Scheduled, regular transfers into a separate account make it easier to build savings and avoid spending money frivolously.

Increase retirement savings. Experts agree that contributing at least 10% of your income into a retirement account is a smart way to build wealth. If you can’t afford to put away 10%, set aside whatever percentage you can — and gradually increase your contributions as your income increases. Think of it as paying yourself.

Pay down debt. Monthly payments can take a big bite out of your income. Start to pay off debt with the highest interest rate first (usually credit cards). Do what you can to pay more than the minimum each month. And refinance and consolidate your high-rate debts to a lower rate (see story on page 1 of this newsletter).

Establish an emergency fund. Life doesn’t always go as planned. Having an emergency fund can minimize the pain and hassle of dealing with everything from emergency repairs to a lost job. Strive to put away an amount equal to three to six months of expenses.

Set a budget and stick to it. Having a budget helps you keep track of how much you spend and save. Once you know where your money is going, you can make better-informed financial decisions about how to allocate it. Include an amount in your budget for personal fun and entertainment as well.

Review insurance coverage. Life brings constant changes, such as marriage, divorce, children. Regularly check to make sure life insurance, wills and living trusts and retirement accounts are up to date, including beneficiary information. Also, be sure that Allsteel Credit Union has your current phone number, email and mailing address so we can keep you informed of changes to your accounts, notify you of suspected fraudulent transactions on your account and more.

Start a college savings fund. The 529 plan is an excellent way to save for college, since you can withdraw the account’s funds tax-free to pay for qualified education costs.

Fidelity Investments reports that people who make financial resolutions feel more optimistic and financially secure than those who don’t. So why not start off 2017 with a commitment to make all your money work harder?

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