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7 New Year’s Resolutions For A Richer 2017

New Year, New You!


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The New Year is a great time of renewal. That makes it a good time to make bold, decisive changes in your life. Leave behind the baggage that was 2016 and start fresh with a blank slate in 2017. If you’re looking for some resolutions to improve your personal finances, we’re pleased to offer seven ways to make 2017 the year of the dollar!


1.) Track your spending

Determine where your money goes. Carefully record every dollar you spend for a month; apps like Mint can make this process automatic. Keeping track of where your money ends up may ultimately encourage you to spend more judiciously.

2.) Make a budget

70% of Americans live financially spontaneous lives, without planned spending. This is a circular problem: If your budget doesn’t include setting aside money for long-term expenses and savings, you’ll end up spending everything on unplanned things and events. Stop the cycle by creating a budget that modifies your spending to be more in line with your priorities.

3.) Get out of debt

The biggest stumbling block to financial security and saving towards long-term goals is debt. Make the move towards debt reduction this year by adding an extra $50 or $100 to your credit card payments. Alternatively, focus all your payment resources on the highest-interest debt until it’s paid off, then move on to the next highest.

4.) Start an emergency fund

The best way to avoid going into debt is to have some money available to handle the occasional, yet inevitable, emergency. Set a specific goal, like adding $10 per month to a savings account. At the end of the year, you’ll have more than $100 available in case something goes wrong.

5.) Start a retirement account

When you have a retirement account, your monthly statements serve as reminders to think about and plan for your retirement. The challenge, though, is taking that first step. Don’t get hung-up on perfection; any kind of retirement account is better than none. If your job offers a 401(k) matching program, sign up to get at least the full matching funds amount – it’s free money. Do a bit of research, then open the account that seems like the best idea.

6.) Automate your savings

Fighting that impulse to spend what you’ve earmarked for savings is a constant struggle; it’s easiest to take the decision out of your hands. Change your direct deposit to put some of your paycheck directly into a savings account, where you won’t even think about spend it impulsively.

7.) Get educated

Knowledge is power, and that’s especially true in the world of personal finance. There’s loads of information out there; resolve to read one personal-finance article a week. This will give you great ideas for improving your financial situation.

Happy New Year from all of us at 705 Federal Credit Union. We hope you have a safe, happy, and prosperous 2017!

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Five Business Owner Resolutions For A Better 2017

2017 Resolutions for Business Growth

Success! Go get it.

The New Year is the perfect time to reinvent your business. Decide what you want 2017 to look like, then put on your entrepreneurial shoes and get to work! Here are five resolutions you can aspire to in 2017 for a happy and successful business year.

1.) Set an Exciting Goal

As Tim Ferriss puts it in his must-read book “The Four Hour Workweek,” a goal that makes your heart beat faster is easier to achieve than a ho-hum goal. That’s because there’s less competition when you’re doing the impossible and also because an exciting goal comes with a super adrenaline rush that makes you surpass what you thought were your limitations. Can you triple your income this year? Identify the 20% of activities that generate 80% of your results and focus only on that?  Don’t limit it — give yourself permission to call your biggest dreams “goals.”

2.) Write a Marketing Plan

The most frustrating part of being a business owner is the constant need to put out fires. Everything demands your attention, and there are never enough hours in the day. One of the best things you can do is get away from it all and spend a solid, uninterrupted block of time crafting a marketing plan for your business.

Your plan doesn’t need to be perfect. It’s a living document, so expect to make changes throughout the year as you respond to new opportunities and developments in your industry .

3.) Get in Front of Compliance Deadlines

January 1 is when many new regulations take effect. If you aren’t staying up-to-date on your regulatory environment, you’re playing with fire.

Take a look at the new regulations that may affect your business. Consult with your compliance personnel or attorney to figure out the steps you need to take to keep your company updated.

4.) Trim the Fat

Is there a person in your organization who isn’t working out? Technology that takes more time than it’s worth? If it’s not an asset to your business, it’s holding you back.

It’s never fun to be the bad guy, but as a business owner, it’s your responsibility to see to it that your team is doing what needs to be done and productivity and morale are high.

5.) Keep Learning and Growing

With so much on your plate, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day responsibilities of working both in and on your business. Make 2017 the year you invest in your own knowledge by resolving to read one new business book a month. Make a list of websites, blogs and publications you’d like to read regularly. Revisit classic business books, or ask others for recommendations.

Close the books and learn from the experiences. 2017 is up next and it’s up to you to make it the best year ever. Bring on the challenges and rewards of another New Year! What New Year’s resolutions will help your business thrive?

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New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions? We Have Some Easy Suggestions!

fireplace with candles around itBy the end of January, many of us will have forgotten all about our New Year’s resolutions. It can be difficult to change our lives, even when it’s for the better.  Knowing this, we want you to know that, in your financial life, there are changes you can make today that will last the entire year.  Here are three resolutions you can set today and some follow-up goals for the rest of the year. 

Today:  Save money automatically.  If you want to improve your net worth, build financial security or make a big purchase at this time next year, the easiest way to do so is simply to automate your savings.  You can set up an automatic transfer to savings so you won’t be tempted to spend it.  With many of our savings products, you can even access the money if an emergency arises.  Check out our savings accounts and automatic transfer options for those savings accounts.

Later:  Set up an emergency fund.  How much do you have set aside for a rainy day or to cover the unexpected?  If an emergency came up, would you have to sell investments, cash in your retirement or borrow from family?  Make this the year for setting up your emergency fund.  You’ll eventually want to have at least six months of income put aside where you can get to it. for now, start with $1,000, a month’s income, or whatever feels realistic.  It might be difficult to get in the habit of saving money, but this is the resolution you’ll be really happy you kept if something unexpected happens.

Today:  Pay down your debt.  If you’re struggling with debt, there are three basic solutions for paying it down, getting your payments under control and getting ahead of debt.  You can make more frequent payments, pay more each month or lower your interest rates.

Paying more frequently makes sense if you get paid every two weeks: You might already know about the advantage of bi-weekly payments, which let you make the equivalent of an extra monthly payment every year.  If you’re already doing that or you don’t get paid on a weekly schedule, you can also increase the amount you pay every month.  Even an extra $25 per month is $300 per year, and you can set up those payments automatically.  Make sure you increase your payments the most on the bills with the highest interest rates first, even if they don’t have the largest balances.

Finally, you can get ahead of your debt by lowering your interest rates.  You can call the creditors who are charging you the highest interest rates and pay the bill, transfer the balance to a credit card or loan with a lower interest rate, or see if they’ll offer you a lower rate due to improved credit.  One way to make this work is to arrange a home equity loan at a lower fixed rate, then move your balances with the highest interest rates to the loan.  You can apply for a loan here!

Later:  Get control of your spending.  It’s time to make a budget and stick to it.  Build rewards into the budget so you’ll actually be happy to follow it.  Take a look at what you use your credit cards to buy, then budget at least some money for those items or activities.  You’ll never keep a resolution like “stop eating out,” but you have a good chance of keeping a resolution like “don’t go over the eating out budget.”  This also gives you 12 chances to succeed:  Every month you can do better than the month before.

Today:  Make a drawer.  Many of us who have had the misfortune to act as the executor on a loved one’s estate have had the terrible task of finding all the savings, debts, insurance policies and other financial parts of their lives.  Don’t do this to whomever is taking over your life.  Empty a drawer in your kitchen or study and put as many relevant documents in it as you can find.  Make a list of everything in the drawer and everything that’s missing.  Put a copy in the drawer and another with your will so it’s as easy as possible for the grieving individual in charge.  As with any sensitive, personal data, keep this information in a safe place that only you and the likely executor(s) of your estate will have knowledge.

Later:  Fill the drawer.  What’s missing from the drawer?  Do you have a will?  How much life insurance do you have?  Do you have enough savings to take care of your children?  What about a plan for how they will receive that money?  

Talk to a financial planner and insurance specialist to make sure you’re set.  With any luck, 2016 won’t be the year you need it, but if it is, it’ll be better for everyone involved if there’s a plan.

And that’s it … three things to do today and three projects to complete during the year.  None of them are out of reach, so you’re setting yourself up for success by making resolutions you can keep.

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