5 Ways to start 2024 on the right financial foot

Here are 5 practical ways to achieve financial wellness:

1. Create a spending plan and stick to it

One of the fundamental steps toward achieving financial stability is creating a realistic budget. Take the time to assess your monthly income, fixed expenses and discretionary spending.

Identify areas where you can cut back, allocate funds for savings and set aside an emergency fund. Utilize budgeting tools or apps to track your spending and stay accountable to your financial goals. A well-structured budget can help you manage your money more effectively and avoid unnecessary debt.

2. Take time to set specific financial goals

Intentionally set time aside to plan out your goals. It doesn’t have to take long, an hour a week is enough. You will never be able to hit a target if you don’t know where to aim. Define clear and achievable financial goals for the year. Identify specific objectives that will give your financial journey direction.

Remember to make your goals SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely). This approach can help you stay motivated and focused on your long-term financial success.

For example, if your goal is to pay off debt, this would be the time to calculate your total debt repayment and set a specific goal on how much you will be able to pay off in 2024. That means listing out minimum payments, interest rates and how much money you will be able to throw at it each month. Consider the debt snowball method when it comes to strategically tackling one payment at a time.

3. Prioritize debt repayment

Speaking of debt, if you’re carrying high-interest consumer debt such as credit card balances, prioritize paying it off. High interest rates can significantly hinder your financial progress.

Consider leveraging balance transfer options, especially with Navy Federal Credit Union, to consolidate your debt and benefit from lower interest rates. By consolidating debt, you can simplify your monthly payments and save money on interest, accelerating the journey towards a debt-free life.

If you transfer a non-Navy Federal balance to a More Rewards card within 60 days of opening an account, you could save with a1.99% intro APRon that transferred balance for 12 monthsfrom account opening. After that, a variable APR between 14.90% and 18% applies. A lower interest rate could mean the difference between getting on top of your payments or continuing to drown in debt.

4. Review and improve your credit score

Your credit score plays a crucial role in your financial health and for military members, it could mean the ability to maintain a security clearance. A better credit score can open doors to lower interest rates, better loan terms and improved financial opportunities.

Work with your installation’s personal financial manager or accredited financial counselor to obtain your credit report and review it for any errors or discrepancies. The best approach is to pay early, pay more and pay with a plan.

Timely payments, responsible credit utilization and a mix of credit types positively impact your credit score. If your credit needs improvement, focus on addressing these factors that contribute to a higher score.

5. Automate savings and investments

An easy win in this financial wellness journey is to make saving and investing a seamless part of your financial routine by setting up automated transfers. Allocate a portion of your income towards savings and investment accounts. Take advantage of the Thrift Savings Plan, and consider opening individual retirement accounts (IRAs) to supplement your long-term savings. Automating these processes ensures that you consistently contribute to your financial future without the need for constant manual intervention.

Embarking on a journey toward financial success requires commitment, discipline and strategic planning. As you enter 2024, implement these five strategies to set yourself on the right financial path. With a proactive approach and the right financial tools, you can achieve your goals and enjoy a financially secure future.

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Check out the stories written by Team Mighty. Engage with thought-provoking content that offers unique perspectives on military endeavors.