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New Year Financial Health Checklist

January 05, 2024
Education

As we enter into the fresh start of a new year, it’s the perfect time to pause and reflect on your financial health. At GSB, we want to make sure you’re equipped with the tools and knowledge to start your year on the right foot. That’s why we’ve put together a handy financial health checklist for you to utilize no matter where you are on your personal finance journey.

Here are 8 ways to take control of your financial future in 2024:

  1. Review Your Budget
  2. Check Your Credit Report
  3. Maximize Retirement Contributions
  4. Try Additional Retirement Investment Vehicles
  5. Assess Insurance Coverage
  6. Review Spending Habits
  7. Plan for Taxes
  8. Schedule a Financial Check-In

Review Your Budget

When financial planning, it’s important to reflect before looking ahead. Take a moment to look back at your spending habits for the past year. Did you stick to your budget, or did things go a little off track? Identify areas where you can make improvements and adjust for the upcoming year. Utilize a budget tracker or other budgeting tools if necessary and don’t forget to set specific financial goals, whether it’s saving for a vacation or working on debt reduction. Plus, GSB makes it easy by offering you Insights to help manage budgets, track cashflow and spending and even set up savings goals! Simply log in to your Online Banking and click “Insights”.

Check Your Credit Report

Your credit score plays a significant role in your financial health. Request a free copy of your credit report from annualcreditreport.com to ensure accuracy and spot any errors. Addressing discrepancies can help improve your creditworthiness and pave the way for better financial opportunities in the future. You can always view your credit score in your Online Banking dashboard. Click “Show My Score” to view your score history over time, credit usage and even special offers available to you!

Maximize Retirement Contributions

The start of a new year is a great time to ramp up your retirement savings. If you have an employer-sponsored retirement plan, ensure you’re contributing the maximum allowable amount. If you’re self-employed, consider creating a retirement plan tailored to your needs. Remember, investing in your future today means a more secure tomorrow.

Try Additional Retirement Investment Vehicles

It’s also a great time to consider some retirement savings vehicles you maybe haven’t considered before. While 401(k)s are typically a popular option, they may not always be available to you, and they still may not be enough. An IRA lets you save for retirement without going through your employer which can offer greater flexibility. An IRA CD, which is a retirement account where all the money is invested in Certificates of Deposits (CDs), is another safe, FDIC-insured way to earn a strong, fixed rate towards your retirement. CDs have no risk of losing value and can offer you a predictable fixed income in retirement, making them a great addition to your portfolio. Make sure to consult a tax advisor to ensure you understand any implications to your finances.

Get started and open an IRA CD today with expert guidance from GSB! Stop in to a branch, call (800) 730-6603 or schedule a virtual appointment today with one of our financial specialists.

Assess Insurance Coverage

Life changes, and so should your insurance coverage. Take a moment to review your policies, including health, auto, and home insurance. Ensure that the coverage you have meets your current needs and protects you adequately. If you experienced any significant life changes this year – like getting married, having a child, or buying a new home – make sure you update your policies accordingly.

Review Spending Habits

Let’s face it – we all have those little expenses that can add up over time. Now’s the perfect moment to take a closer look at your spending habits and identify where you can make some smart cuts. Focus on expense management rather than just cutting spending all together. By being mindful of your expenses and cutting back on some frivolous purchases, you can make some big strides towards your financial goals in the course of a year. Login to your Online Banking and click “Insights” to track spending and set up a budget to help better manage your money!

Plan for Taxes

Nobody likes surprises, especially when it comes to taxes. Start gathering all the necessary documents now, so you’re well-prepared when tax season arrives. Consider leveraging tax planning strategies to potentially reduce your liabilities and maximize your deductions.

Schedule a Financial Check-In

Just as you visit the doctor regularly, it’s crucial to schedule time to check-in for your finances as well. Mark your calendar for a self-check-in to thoroughly walk through your finances every three to six months to give you a better sense of how your saving strategies are working. Take that time to reassess your progress towards your goals and adjust for the future accordingly. This will help you to be able to make better money management decisions as you go.

Making your way through this new year financial health checklist will set you up for success and empower you to achieve your financial goals. At GSB, we are committed to supporting our community on their financial journeys and we’re always here to help. Call (800) 730-6603 or schedule an appointment today with one of our financial specialists.