Now that the Christmas season is behind us, the focus turns to 2016 resolutions. While many of us vow to eat better and get on the treadmill to improve our physical health, have you thought about your financial health in the New Year?
Consider some statistics:
- A Consumer Financial Protection Bureau study found that seven out of 10 American workers say financial stress is the most common cause of stress in their lives.
- 60 percent of households have less than three months of savings on-hand, if an emergency hits.
- 24 percent of workers admit personal finances have been a distraction at work.
- 43 percent of respondents to a National Foundation for Credit Counseling survey said they didn’t know how or why they should review their credit report.
To help you get your New Year off to a great financial start, GreenPath recently put together a personal finance resolution list for you to consider in 2016:
DO pay all your bills on time every month. Delinquent payments, even if only a few days late, can have a major negative impact on your credit score. This applies to all your accounts, including utilities.
DO bring past due accounts current. If an account is reported as past due, work towards bringing that account up to date as quickly as possible and keep it up to date.
DO check your credit report regularly for errors. If you request copies of your credit report for yourself, this will not hurt your credit score. Everyone is entitled to a free copy of their credit report yearly from each of the three major reporting bureaus through www.annualcreditreport.com.
DO dispute any inaccurate information on your credit report. Unfortunately, mistakes are common, so it is important to make sure everything on your credit report is accurate.
DO consider automatic payments. If you sometimes forget to pay bills, automatic payments may make sense. Some creditors will even split the payment to correspond to your pay schedule.
DON’T apply for new credit too often. Any time you apply for credit, it counts as an inquiry on your credit report.
DON’T expect immediate changes. Your credit score is basically a three-digit number that indicates the likelihood to a potential creditor that, if they give you credit, you will pay them back. It makes sense that your score cannot change overnight, since creditors want you to pay them back consistently over time.