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Reach your financial goals in 2017: Part I

Date posted:  1/3/17 09:00:00 AM Stay on top of your financial goals in 2017.

Now that 2017 has arrived, it is time to set goals and make resolutions. From getting in shape to allotting more time for your passions, everyone has a variety of goals they want to accomplish over the course of the year. However, many individuals have one common aspect of their lives they hope to improve: their finances.

If you want to improve your finances in 2017, follow these simple tips:

Don't let identity theft happen to you
Identity theft is far more common than you might think, because it can be easy to obtain personal information from unsuspecting victims. According to Consumer.gov, criminals can put finances at risk by getting your:

  • Social Security number
  • Medical insurance account numbers
  • Full name
  • Address
  • Passwords
  • Birth date
  • Credit card account number
  • Bank account and routing numbers

Armed with this information, a thief can open another line of credit in your name, which can damage your credit score if not caught. This can be a substantial issue as your credit history is used to evaluate your financial responsibility. With a lower credit score, you may not qualify for a mortgage, car loan, or other types of credit. However, even if your credit score is compromised, there are steps you can take to report the fraud and reverse some negative impacts.

To protect yourself from identity theft, here are a few steps you can take:

  1. Invest in a paper shredder to destroy all documents with your private information on them before throwing them away.
  2. Avoid putting personal information on social media platforms.
  3. Keep an eye on your credit score. If you notice any inaccuracies, report them immediately.

Invest in your own financial literacy
The more you understand something, the better you will likely be at managing and staying on top of everything pertinent to that topic. Therefore, improving your financial literacy will be incredibly beneficial.

According to All Business, the Internet is a great tool for becoming more familiar with just about any topic. You can use it to research current news in the financial section of publications like the Wall Street Journal or The Financial Times. You can gain a better understanding of what is going on globally and regionally in the financial world by reading these types of publications and staying current on money matters.

The U.S. government also offers a number of resources for becoming more financially literate. For example, MyMoney.gov teaches the basics of financial education. Using this tool can help you master topics ranging from investing in a 401(k) to balancing a checkbook.

If you have the funds, you may even want to enroll in a class at a local adult education center or take a course online to bolster your understanding of financial matters.

Discuss financial goals with your partner
Whether you want to save more for retirement, a vacation or going back to school, make sure you and your partner are on the same page. When you discuss finances with your partner, you build a stronger relationship and improve your ability to reach goals at a more rapid pace.

Reduce digital temptations
One of the things that makes it difficult to stick to financial goals is having email blasts from your favorite stores every day. The announcement of incredible deals and major savings are tempting each time you open your inbox. By eliminating that distraction, or reducing the promotional emails you receive, you can better ensure you will reach your savings goals.

Unsubscribe from these spam emails and start the new year off with a cleaner email inbox and healthier savings account.

Download helpful apps*
There are a number of apps available that will help you stick to your financial goals in 2017. According to the MarketWatch, there are many apps that are both easy to use and great at ensuring you keep your budget balanced.

Digit is a tool that analyzes your spending habits and takes out a small amount of money every few days and tucks it into a savings account. Additional apps include:

  • Acorns
  • Qapital
  • Penny

Ensuring you reach your financial goals in 2017 requires some preparation on your end, and by doing this, you can enjoy the New Year.

*UMB does not endorse the apps listed in this article.