Making Ends Meet: Improving finances in the new year

Making Ends Meet: Improving finances in the new year

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – Resolutions can be hard to keep, but some can be life-changing.

According to a Harris Poll for the top New Year's Resolutions for 2020, getting more exercise came in at number one, and improving finances was not far behind at number two.

Experts suggest if you’re looking to keep better track of your money, pay yourself first because most people pay everybody else and there's nothing left over at the end of the month. Out of every paycheck you receive, automatically direct a specific portion of your paycheck to your 401k or IRA.

“You're giving away free money if you don't do that,” Mark Lamkin with Lamkin Wealth Management said. “Another mistake I see people make - if this market’s off three, four, 5,000 points, they quit contributing. [That is] one of the biggest mistakes you could make. You should double it if you’re ten years away from retirement.”

Lamkin suggests if you’re looking to get out of debt, use the snowball method to pay off debts in order of the smallest to the largest bill.

“You literally make minimum payments on large credit cards and you take as much money as you can and pay that small balance first,” he said.

Lamkin said people with poor credit scores need a reversal.

“You start with your highest interest rate credit card,” he said, “make minimum payments on the others, and you pay that highest balance first and work your way down.”

Financial plans are a must for people looking to stay on top of their money, and Lamkin said it’s never been easier to create one with Mint.com.

“Tens of thousands of people today use this very powerful free online planning tool,” he said.

Mint can track and manage your spending, your budget, your savings goals, and your investments.

Lamkin said investing doesn’t always mean pulling money out of the bank for purchases.

“Don't be afraid to invest in your vocation,” he said. “If you don't like your career, if you don't like where you are going, if you can't make enough money, invest in yourself. Stay relevant and make yourself indispensable for your company, and your pay’s going to go up… It is the best return on investment you can make.”

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