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    Top 10 tips for getting your finances in order

    Money management should be reviewed regularly to get the most out of your earnings

    Q: My New Year’s resolution was to get my financial house in better order. Any tips on where I should start?

    A: First, congratulations on making the important decision to get your financial house in order. New year, new you! There are money management strategies that make sense to review and/or implement every year. Here’s where we think you should start:

    Set short- and long-term financial goals. Whether you want to be debt-free in 10 years or own a home in 5, you are more inclined to save if you have specific goals. Factor these goals into a budget and figure out where you can squeeze the extra money to make these goals realities.

    Budget. Overspending is a common problem. It’s helpful to create a detailed monthly budget that takes all your expenses into account. Give yourself a little leeway but do your best to stick to your plan as closely as possible each and every month.

    Reduce debt. Reduce your debt load, especially if you are paying interest at relatively high rates, such as those on credit cards. Some debt, such as the mortgage on a house, may be perfectly acceptable due to the tax deductibility of the interest, but overall, try and keep your debt level to a minimum.

    Have you read - Lifestyle creep: What is it, and how do you avoid it?

    Be tax efficient. The tax code could experience a major shakeup in 2017 and in subsequent years. Make sure you pay close attention to the changes. Being tax efficient is always important, and it may take some extra effort to stay educated on current rules.

    Maintain an emergency fund. We have seen clients saved by their emergency funds numerous times. A sudden job loss, major surprise expense, or unexpected health issue can change your financial picture quickly. Try to increase savings out of the monthly budget even if you do not think it is critical. The general rule of thumb is to maintain an emergency fund equal to 3-6 times your monthly living expenses.

    Diversify. Any new presidential administration brings uncertainty, which typically comes with market volatility. To combat volatility, it is important to be diversified in your investments. Diversification means spreading your investments across and within different asset classes. Without diversification you risk being caught in an asset class that severely underperforms your expected rate of return.

    Next: More financial tips and IRA contribution information 

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