Thursday, December 31, 2015

Financial New Year's Resolutions For 2016

With the dawn of a new year upon us, now is the time to reflect on the past year and look forward to the new year that lies ahead. What went well in 2015? What are you hoping to improve in 2016? 

As your trusted bank at the Lake of the Ozarks, it seems only fitting that we take this opportunity to discuss some of the ways you can set yourself up for financial success in the new year. Here are a few New Year's Resolutions you may want to consider for 2016.

New Year's Resolution Ideas:

1. Develop A Budget.
If you don't have one already, now is the time to make budgeting a daily, weekly, or monthly habit. Calculate your total monthly income and divide your expenses into categories. Tally how much you actually spend by keeping your receipts and making notes of any expenses you make/bills you pay that do not give you a receipt. At the end of the week or month, add up your expenses and subtract the total from your income. This will allow you to see how much money you're actually spending, where your money is going, and how much you have left over.

2. Make All Mandatory Expenses First
With a budget in place, it will be easy for you to identify your fixed monthly expenses. "Fixed" expenses are the ones that are considered non-negotiable: utility bills, phone/cable/internet, loan payments, child support/alimony, etc. Since failing to make these payments typically results in unpleasant consequences, it's important to allocate funds towards these expenses first.

3. Start Saving For Retirement
Retirement may seem like a distant dream, but the truth is that it is never too early to begin saving for retirement. Because of the power of compound interest, starting to invest while you're still in your early-to-mid twenties can be an incredibly lucrative move. Check out our website to learn how First Bank of the Lake can help you plan for retirement at the Lake of the Ozarks.

4. Build An Emergency Fund
Life is unpredictable. You can never know when something will happen and you will need access to emergency funds. Be prepared by setting aside $100 every month until you have built up an emergency fund that could last you for 3-6 months without income. Hopefully you won't need it, but it's always better to be safe than sorry.

5. Pay Off Debts More Quickly
Some debt can be a good thing, but being stuck under a mountain of debt for years on end can be disheartening (and straining on your monthly finances). Let's make 2016 the year to make serious headway on your debts by putting an extra $50, $100, or $150 towards your payments each month. (Make sure you specify that this extra be applied to principal, not interest.) Once you get one debt paid off, put the extra money in your budget towards another loan.

Hint: Set Measurable, Achievable Goals

No matter what New Year's Resolution you choose, be sure to define it in clear, measurable terms. Rather than saying "I resolve to spend less," for example, say "I resolve to cut $50 of unnecessary spending each month." (Unnecessary spending refers to anything that is not necessary to support yourself or your family, such as movie tickets or dinner out at a restaurant.) "Spending less" is vague and hard to track progress against, but cutting $50 is tangible, measurable, and (consequently) easier to achieve.

Happy New Year's From First Bank of the Lake!
If you're looking for a new financial resource for 2016, we hope you'll remember First Bank of the Lake. In the meantime, we wish you a happy and successful 2016!

First Bank of the Lake - Striving For Excellence
Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.

Located at the entrance to the Osage Beach Premium Outlets!
4558 Osage Beach Parkway
Suite 100
Osage Beach, MO 65065

(573) 348-2265

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