Three Practical Financial Resolutions for 2023
Making a financial New Year’s resolution can often feel overwhelming, but here are three practical resolutions you can easily accomplish in 2023 to improve your overall financial wellbeing without stressing yourself out.
#1 Improve your credit score
The higher your credit score, the better your loan rate will be when you need to borrow funds.
Find out your score – knowing your credit score is the first step to improving it.
- Check with your credit card company or financial institution many will provide your current credit score as a complimentary service.
- Free sites like CreditKarma.com can provide an estimated credit score from 2 of the 3 major credit bureaus - TransUnion and Equifax. Although CreditKarma.com does not guarantee the exact credit score, it is usually accurate to within a few points.
Increase your score – review a copy of your credit report.
- Your credit score is derived from your credit report, and everyone is entitled to a free credit report yearly at www.annualcreditreport.com. The report doesn’t feature your credit score but reviewing your credit report can show you what areas need improvement.
- Focus on improving the highest impact factors: on-time payment history, lowering credit card use, and derogatory marks (tax liens, collections, bankruptcy, etc.)
- Review your credit report for discrepancies like misreported names and addresses or accounts you’ve already paid off.
#2 Get your subscriptions under control
It seems everything requires a subscription these days, and it’s easy to forget about those recurring payments.
Track subscriptions – make a list of each subscription, the payment amount, the interval of payment (monthly, quarterly, annually), and the card/account with which it is paid.
- Use an Excel spreadsheet to organize and review subscriptions, or use apps like Truebill, Bobby (for iPhone) or Subby (for Android) to help identify recurring subscriptions.
- Using an app to find subscriptions can be helpful but be aware of sneaky charges – for example, the Truebill app will automatically cancel subscriptions for premium users, but regular users will have to cancel subscriptions manually.
Evaluate subscriptions – take an inventory of your subscription list to see how often you’re using each one.
- Maybe you signed up for Disney+ to watch Mandalorian, but forgot to cancel afterwards, or you have a monthly coffee bean subscription, and the bags of beans are piling up in the cupboard – whatever the case may be, it’s time to cancel those subscriptions.
- Update your subscription spreadsheet tracking as you add or remove subscriptions for easy reference.
#3 Increase your retirement contributions by 1%
Money may be tight, but even a 1% increase in 2023 can make a big difference in the years to come.
Review your paystub – see what percentage of your paycheck currently goes to your retirement account.
- Calculate the amount of a 1% increase and, if your budget can handle it, update your contribution by 1% for 2023.
- If your employer offers a match, make sure you’re contributing at least the matching percentage. If not, you’re missing out on free money and an important part of your compensation package.
Lower your taxable income – increasing your retirement contributions will lower your taxable income and give you the power of compounding interest.
- Don’t wait another year to start saving or increase your saving percentage for retirement – time is your biggest advantage for growing your retirement funds through compounding interest.
- The market may be down at the moment, but that means you’re buying on the cheap.