Blocks turning from 2023 to 2024

Your Year-end Financial Checklist

Start 2024 Right

Setting a New Year’s resolution is nothing new. A new poll from Forbes found that 44% of Americans set goals for the coming year, with 30% of those resolutions focused on finances. With a new year in sight, now’s a great time to review your assets and set your goals with the Central Willamette year-end financial checklist. 

  • Pay Yourself First: It’s important to pay your bills and make your loan payments. But the first person you should be paying is yourself. Set aside as much as you can every month and lock it away into savings. Even if you can’t pay yourself a lot, those deposits will add up over time. 
  • Plan for Emergencies: Life can catch even the most prepared person off guard now and then. Liquid (accessible) savings equal to three or even six months of your income could give your family a nice cushion if you lose your job or face a large expense. To start your liquid emergency savings account, set aside up to 10% of every paycheck and put it into savings. Try not to touch it for anything besides emergencies.
  • Fully Utilize Your Employer Retirement Plan: If they’re willing to match your funds up to a certain percentage, maximize that opportunity. You don’t want to miss out on free money. 
  • Budget and Spend Wisely: Creating a budget that works requires spending less than you earn after taxes. It might sound simple, but overspending is how many families end up in debt. To craft your budget, jot down every bill and monthly expense you have. Then compare that to your income. Do you make enough for your budget? If not, find ways to trim expenses. Can you eliminate a few streaming services? Maybe use coupons when grocery shopping? When your budget and spending work in tandem, you’ll have leftover income you can save for the future.
  • Plan Ahead: If 2024 is the year you plan to finance a new car or buy a home, start saving now. Estimate how much you’ll need to reach your goal, then divide that out into monthly chunks. Whether it’s the down payment on a house or the first few car payments, planning for big purchases is a smart financial move. 
  • Control Your Credit: A good credit score is essential in today’s world, but carrying a balance on a high-interest credit card or paying too much for an auto loan can limit your savings opportunities and overall financial future. If possible, pay off your credit cards every month, refinance high-interest-rate loans, and always make on-time payments to avoid extra fees and penalties.
  • Establish a Will: Less than 46% of Americans have a will, according to a Gallup poll. Writing yours means controlling how your estate and money are handled if you’re not around to manage it. While it might not help your current finances, a thought-out will is a benefit to your family. 
  • Analyze Your Income Taxes: Are your withholdings correct? Can you make extra end-of-the-year additions to your retirement account for added tax savings? The more you can save on your taxes, the more you can save for the future. 
  • Don’t Forget About Insurance: When disaster strikes, the right insurance can help protect your finances. Talk to your insurance agent about life insurance policies, long-term care options, as well as ways to save money on your home and auto insurance. Looking for coverage? Try TruStage life and auto insurance. As a Central Willamette Credit Union member, you can get a free quote and chat with trained professionals about your options. 

New Year, New You 

Central Willamette can help you plan for a financially smart 2024 and beyond. That includes saving for your first home, emergency expenses, and more. Swing by any branch or call (541) 928-4536.