Financial New Year's Resolutions

December 26, 2011 9:45:45 AM PST
The New Year often means reflecting on what has been accomplished and looking forward to new possibilities in the year ahead. The same should hold true as we look at our retirement plans to ensure we're making the most of the opportunities to save. Joe Moorhead, TIAA-Cref Financial Advisor has some suggestions we all should follow to get on the right track to a secure financial future.

1. Set up emergency fund: Establishing an emergency fund is essential, especially in the event of a job loss or other significant reduction in income. Assess your income-debt ratio, as well as your career stability, and set aside a realistic fund that will sustain you for an adequate period of time.

2. Max out 401(k): Enroll in 401k and/or invest to receive full company match -- otherwise, you're leaving money on the table and getting taxed for money that could be protected.

3. Save for education: Review education savings needs for children, or continuing education for yourself/spouse. Invest now to prepare for future costs -- which will only continue to increase.

4. Stick to a budget: Pay down debt and make a detailed budget plan. Studies show that successful "savers" have a dedicated and disciplined approach to spending and saving money.

5. Ensure you're protected: Review insurance coverage - Are you getting the best rates? Are you adequately covered? Make sure you are prepared in the event that you need it.