Episode 1: Setting Financial New Year’s Resolutions

About the Episode

On this episode of Making it Count, hosts Cristina and Will talk all things financial New Year’s resolutions with guests Katie Bowman, Sr. Relationship Manager, Community Engagement & Partnerships and Susan Sherman, Principal Relationship Manager for Real Estate Lending at Addition Financial. Listeners will learn how to reduce credit card debt, control spending, pay off a mortgage faster, and more. Want to know what goes into making a good financial New Year’s resolution? Find out on Episode 1 of Making it Count!

 

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4:50

Cristina asks Question 1: “What are some great ways to pay off credit card debt?”

Katie answers: “There are three different approaches. One is to start paying off the highest interest first. Whichever credit card is costing you the most money, attack that one first. Any leftover money will go toward it. You could also pay the one with the lowest balance first because a lot of people like to feel accomplished and see something happening which empowers you to keep going. The last method is to throw a little more than the minimum on each. Everyone is different, so talk with someone you trust to find out what works best for you.”

Learn more: Best Ways to Pay off Credit Card Debt in 5 Steps

 

7:00

Cristina asks Question 2: “How can I pay down my mortgage faster?”

Susan answers: “Pay a little bit extra toward your mortgage each month. Making that extra payment minimizes the interest over the life of the loan. One of the best ways is paying bi-weekly. If your financial institution doesn’t allow that, make that 13th payment at the end of the year or take that payment, divide it by 12 and add it to your monthly payment. Sometimes even your tax refund will be enough so you can put that toward it.”

Learn more: 5 Mortgage Amortization Strategies for Today's Homebuyers

 

8:25

Cristina asks a follow-up question: “Does it matter if you do the 13th payment or if you pay a little extra each month? Is one better than the other?”

Susan answers: “Paying a little extra each month helps the interest overall, but either way is good for whatever works for you financially.”

 

9:40

Will asks Question 3: “What are some tips to help control our spending?”

Katie answers: “The first step is to look at your income and expenses. Credit allows us to spend more money than we make. One way to control spending is to only use your debit card or plan to carry cash so you can't spend more than what you planned for. Make a shopping list and stick to it. Or do payroll direct deposit or payroll deduction into a separate savings that is not attached to your checking so you’re not tempted to pull from your savings.”

Learn more: How to Manage Your Money Effectively on Any Budget

 

13:30

Cristina asks Question 4: “How do we save for retirement? What are some of the best ways to do that?”

Katie answers: “A lot of employers now have some kind of retirement plan that they will set for you. Even beyond that, if say, a student, is still in school and working a part-time job, it’s good to put a little bit from each paycheck into a retirement account, then when you have a substantial amount, speak with a financial advisor about investing it. It’s important to commit to starting early.”

Learn more: Retirement Strategies: When Should You Start Saving for Retirement?

 

16:30

Will asks Question 5: What are some examples of not so smart or inefficient financial resolutions?”

Katie answers: “Something that is broad, not a specific goal or not tied to a deadline. There's no set time for when you want to accomplish it. You need to be very specific and intentional with your financial resolutions, otherwise it will be easy to justify switching it up.”

Cristina chimes in: “It’s also a good thing to hold yourself accountable or have others hold you accountable.”

Katie talks about smart goals: “Making sure your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.”

Learn more: SMART Financial Goal Setting Worksheet

 

20:30

Will asks Quick Question 1: “How can you tell the difference between a realistic goal and an unrealistic goal?”

Katie answers: “A realistic goal is very specific and measurable, and something you can see progress in over time.”

Download our SMART Financial Goal Setting Worksheet

20:50

Cristina asks Quick Question 2: “What is an example of a well-thought-out financial resolution?”

Katie answers: “Say you wanted to go on a cruise for spring break. You started planning last spring, so you know you have 12 months, you know how much it costs, when you're going, when to pay for it, who’s splitting what. Divide it by 12 and put that in a savings account and make sure you have that money ready to go.”

Learn more: Are You Planning Financial Resolutions & Smart Financial Goals?

 

21:35

Will asks Quick Question 3: “How can you monitor that resolution and make sure that you’re staying on track with it?”

Susan answers: “Apps like Mint allows you to add all of your different accounts to one budgeting platform and it will keep track to make sure you are matching where you want to be financially.”

Katie chimes in: “Budgeting is a good idea too. Seeing what you spent on food, gas, health expenses, etc. and finding an average to see where you are and if that’s where you want to be.”

Learn more: How to Set (and Stick to) Long-Term Financial Goals

 

22:30

Cristina asks Quick Question 4: “Is it ever too late to set a financial New Year’s resolution?”

Katie answers: “Absolutely not, we’re not stuck to the 12 month calendar. It’s never too late or too early to start making good financial decisions.”

 

23:35

Cristina brings up a Bloomberg article that looked at the financial forecast for 2020. It concluded that the double-digit gains on Wall Street from 2019 would not repeat in 2020 – and that overall growth would be slow.

She asks: “Obviously, things can change, but what do you think is the best way to save and invest in 2020 given the slow growth prospects for the economy?”

Katie answers: “This article is an easy out, it’s a way to give yourself a justification or excuse to not go after your financial goals. There will be great years and not-so-great years. We can't let what's going on at a national or international level affect what we are in control of.

 

27:00

You can’t meet your financial goals if you don’t define them first. Addition Financial has created a SMART financial goals worksheet to help you define and reach your dreams. You can find it and more helpful tools in our resource center here.

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