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6 ways to get financially fit in 2020

Financial Education
6 ways to get financially fit in 2020

We’re not talking dumbbells, treadmills and core workouts — we’re talking about dollars and cents here.

About half of Americans make New Year’s resolutions each January, but only about 20 percent of people keep them.

Getting into shape and achieving financial goals are among the most popular resolutions. While we can’t help you reach your ideal weight, we can share six ways to help you become financially fit in 2020.

1. Put your money on autopilot

Set up direct deposit, authorize electronic payments and automate routine savings. Streamlining your finances with online tools not only saves time, it also helps you avoid late fees and overdraft fees, making saving easier.

Check out some of the new, free tools we’re rolling out in 2020 to help save you time, stress and money. 

2. Create a spending plan

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Only about 40 percent of adults have a budget, according to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. Use a free online budgeting tool, like Money Management within Arsenal’s online banking, to keep track of expenses and compare it to your monthly take-home pay. See where you’re spending too much and make any necessary adjustments.

3. Build an emergency fund

More than half of Americans don’t have a rainy-day fund, and 40 percent don’t even have $400 in cash saved for emergencies. You can start small, $10 to $20 per paycheck, but work to save 3 to 8 months of income. To make it easier, set up an automatic transfer from your checking to your savings account.

4. Increase your credit score

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Here are some ways you can do it:

  • Pay all bills on time, every time.
  • Pay more than the minimum.
  • Don’t use more than 30 percent of your credit.
  • Avoid opening many new accounts in a short time period.
  • Keep your oldest existing credit (the longer a credit history, the better).
  • Also, if you have parking tickets or library fines, pay them off. Debts are reported to a credit reporting agency and they can knock down your credit score.

5. Request your credit report

You want to make sure there are no errors and no one is using your credit unlawfully. Request one free credit report a year from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com.

6. Beef up your retirement funds

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Make regular contributions to a retirement savings plan such as a 401(k) or IRA. If your company offers a 401(k) plan, contribute at least enough to meet the company match. If you don’t, it’s like leaving free money on the table.

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