Local view: Make the New Year a prosperous one with these six financial tipsBest-of lists are big this time of year. It’s late December, and everyone’s remembering the best of the year just about to conclude.
Best-of lists are big this time of year. It’s late December, and everyone’s remembering the best of the year just about to conclude.
But if 2013 wasn’t your best year financially and you want to make it better, I have another list for you. It’s my list of tips for making 2014 more financially successful by making a few small changes that can add up big over 12 months. Here goes:
Paying off small debts also allows you to make larger payments on your bigger balances after the easy ones are out of the way. Continue to make minimum payments on your big balances while eliminating the small ones.
And keep your credit-card limits low. When the ability to borrow on credit cards isn’t there — or isn’t there as much — you won’t have the option of overusing them and finding yourself in trouble. Larger limits also can work against your credit score.
Rates remain historically low. That also means if you’re considering buying a home or a car, now may be a great time to act so you can enjoy the benefits of interest rates that won’t stay low forever.
HSAs provide individuals the opportunity to save tax-free for out-of-pocket health-care expenses such as doctor’s visits or prescription drugs. You can easily set up an HSA at your bank.
What makes retirement savings accounts such as IRAs and 401(k)s so attractive is you save on a tax-deferred basis. This means money you put into the account doesn’t show up as income on your taxes now. That keeps your tax bill low while allowing you to put money away for when you’ll need it. Another benefit is that many employers still offer matching money to employees who participate in company-sponsored retirement savings plans. You’re missing out on free money from the boss if you don’t join the program.
Being deliberate about your finances forces you to make decisions and set limits. What a great way to start the new year.
Dale Lewis is president and CEO of Park State Bank in Duluth.