The National Foundation for Credit Counseling says with each new year comes the hope for a fresh start.This is especially true for the millions of people who are living on the financial edge.
Take time in the beginning of the year to start a thorough financial review. This should include all income, expenses, debts and savings. The more often a budget review takes place, the easier it becomes. If it has been a while since the last review, restarting the process may seem daunting but the longer it is put off, the harder it becomes to get started. Now is the best time to turn things around and get back on track toward financial goals. The best news is that help is available if and when it is needed. Free financial tools like MyMoneyCheckup, available through the NFCC Sharpen Your Financial Focus program, are a good place to start.
Time is the biggest enemy when debt is piling up and budgets are broken. Bringing unpaid debt into the new year leaves little to celebrate when the clock strikes midnight. Acting quickly to address these problems can help make it easier to recover financially. It is like pressing a reset button. The key to success is knowing what options are available, and making informed choices based on the facts. Learn more about personal financial management using online educational resources or reach out to a trusted financial advocate for guidance.
3. PUT DEBT IN ITS PLACE
If debt is imposing too much control over daily life, start the year on the right foot by putting debt in its place. Focus on the accounts that are charging the highest interest rates and start power paying the balances until they are gone. The faster debt is retired, the more money can be saved on interest and fees over the long term. That means more cash for savings and important financial goals. When debt problems are more serious, involving past-due balances and debt collection, it’s time to reach out for help from a nonprofit credit counselor who can offer expert guidance that may include a plan for affordable debt repayment.
To locate a nearby NFCC Member Agency, dial (800) 388-2227, or go online to http://www.nfcc.org. For assistance in Spanish, call (800) 682-9832.