Trade New Year's Resolutions for a Healthy Financial Game Plan

By Al Chingren - January 17, 2018

The start of a new year is a great time to examine your financial fitness. Instead of making a hasty resolution, which can have an 80 percent chance of failing1, create a thoughtful framework to help you better stay on track. What's the difference? Setting goals is a healthier habit because they are generally targeted to achieve a specific objective. Plus, goals are defined, with a clear end point.

Al Chingren, Vice President of Personal Finance and Retirement Solutions, advises clients to review their overall financial health when developing a plan. Sound overwhelming? It doesn't have to be. Consider these basic steps.

Five Steps to Fitter Finances

Once a year you should:

1. Exercise Goal-Setting Skills

Establish a plan if you don't already have one. Or, review the one you have. Your plan should include short-term goals such as creating a budget, setting up an emergency fund and paying down debt. Then move to longer-term goals, such as paying off a house, paying for a child's education and, of course, retirement.

2. Play Offense for Your Credit Score

People tend to overlook checking their credit report , but it's important to verify your outstanding debt and whether it's accurate. You don't want any surprises when you need credit. A free credit report is available to you every single year.

3. Tackle Important Documents

If you've already created key financial documents, review them to make sure beneficiaries and other details are still accurate. Or, consider establishing a will, trust and power of attorney to ensure your wishes will be fulfilled as you envision.

4. Catch Your Breath by Consolidating

Tracking your finances can seem like a full-time job. Consolidating can save time and give your full financial picture in one place.

Investors can try our My Financial Insight to:

  • Get organized by bringing all your financial accounts into one consolidated picture—one location to view your investments, bank accounts, credit cards, mortgages and more.
  • Monitor your net worth and easily track changes in your portfolio performance over time.

5. Defend Your Identity

In today's cyber world, it's more important than ever to safeguard your personal information.

Know the Game Plan

Managing finances can be confusing and sometimes even daunting. "As industry professionals, we are committed to helping others create a game plan to reach their financial goals," says Al Chingren. To help do this, American Century Investments® has launched "America's Financial Coach," a new radio show designed to help people navigate everyday financial challenges.

Al Chingren
Al Chingren

Tune in to America's Financial Coach

Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., Central time Rural Radio Sirius XM 147

Hear expert interviews, background on key topics and questions from listeners about personal finance.

Need Help Establishing Your Plan?

Contact us at 1-800-345-2021 or try our free Investment Planner.

Investment Planner
  • Related Articles
  • More From Author

Why Gender Equality Should Matter to Investors and Companies

Investors are starting to view gender diversity as a value driver—a view supported by academic research. In recognition of International Women’s Day, two of our ESG analysts discuss what gender-balanced workplaces mean to the bottom line.

More Invested in You

You work hard to provide for yourself, your family, your legacy. So do we. Put our passion for investing to work for your future.

Investing with Heart; Today & Every Day

For American Century Investments, the idea of investing with the heart starts with a love story. Learn how we live the story of our founder every day.

    Will You Work Past Age 65?

    Some expect to stay on the job longer to save more for retirement, pay down debt and have extra money for daily expenses.

    9 Tax Tasks to Do Before Year-End

    April's tax deadline may seem like far off, but a few year-end tasks can put things in order before your 2018 filing.

    Maximizing Social Security: It's Personal

    Did you know there are different strategies for taking Social Security? Learn why choosing one should be personal to your situation.

      1 2015 U.S. News & World Report

      The opinions expressed are those of American Century Investments (or the portfolio manager) and are no guarantee of the future performance of any American Century Investments' portfolio. This material has been prepared for educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, investment, accounting, legal or tax advice.