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How to Improve Your Financial Health in 2024: An Essential Guide

As the new year approaches, it’s more important than ever to make sure your finances are on track and secure. While resolutions such as dieting or exercising require continuous effort and focus, there are a few key steps you can take right now to improve your financial health in 2024 — and beyond. Here’s your ultimate guide to smart financial planning for the upcoming year.

1. Make a Budget and Stick to It
Creating a budget — and actually following it — is one of the best things you can do to get your finances in order. Start by tracking your spending for a few months and then use that information to create a budget that works for you. Be sure to factor in common bills such as rent, insurance and car payments, as well as fixed expenses such as groceries and dining out. Also, be sure to set aside money for savings.

2. Analyze Your Assets
Take an inventory of your assets and net worth. Track the performance of your financial investments to determine if they’re helping you meet your financial goals. Analyze your retirement accounts to make sure you’re taking full advantage of any matching contributions and tax break opportunities.

3. Review Your Insurance Policies
Make sure your insurance policies are updated and in order. Review life insurance, disability coverage, homeowners’ or renters’ insurance and auto insurance policies to make sure you’re covered sufficiently should something unexpected occur.

4. Examine Your Credit Score
Take a close look at your credit score and make sure any mistakes are corrected. Even small errors can have a big impact on your overall credit score, so be sure to check your credit report for accuracy. If you need to repair your credit, take active steps to do so.

5. Automate Your Finances
If you have a hard time sticking to a budget, set up automatic payments for essential bills and living expenses. That way, you don’t have to worry as much about spending extra or forgetting to pay a bill on time.

6. Consider Increasing Savings
Review your savings and retirement accounts and determine whether increasing your contributions makes sense. If you can afford it, increasing your contributions to a retirement account, for example, can increase your retirement savings significantly over time.

7. Review Retirement Contributions
Take a look at the retirement contributions you’re already making to determine whether you could be making more. If your employer offers a matching retirement contribution, you should be sure to contribute at least that amount; this means that you’re essentially getting free money.

8. Pursue Smart Investments
Determine if any investments outside of traditional retirement accounts make sense for you. This could include investing in stocks, mutual funds or real estate.

9. Put Away What You Don’t Need
If you’ve been squirreling away extra money in a savings account for months on end, think about where else those funds can go. Consider putting that money toward investments, retirement or even paying down student loan debt.

10. Set Financial Goals and Track Your Progress
Creating clear financial goals helps you stay committed to the bigger-picture plan. Track your progress and determine what’s working and what needs to be adjusted. That way, you can respond swiftly to any changes in your financial life.

Whether or not you made any resolutions for 2024, taking the time to work through this checklist will help ensure that you are in the best possible financial shape for the upcoming year. Take the steps necessary to secure your financial future — and feel confident that you can keep your head above water no matter what life throws your way.