New Year’s Eve has come and gone and with it came New Years Resolutions! Starting a new year is like starting with a clean slate and is a great time to evaluate your goals. Many people make fitness related goals or career related goals, but why not make a few financial related goals while you’re at it? The New Year is a great time to assess you finances and lay out a plan for getting out of credit card debt, paying off your mortgage or student loans, or building your nest egg. Our office is happy to provide the following ideas for your New Years Eve Resolutions. If you would like to discuss the state of your finances and get more ideas on how to make 2017 your best financial year, please call our office and speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney – we looked forward to working with you!

1. Pay off your debt (or at the least, don’t incur more debt). Unfortunately it is just a fact of life now that many Georgians have hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans alone, and (for most people) it is simply not feasible to pay off all of those loans in one year. But in lieu of paying off all of your debt in 2017, consider making a resolution to not incur any more debt. Try to refrain from opening up a credit card, signing onto a car loan, or taking on any other debts. In doing so, you will free up your monthly income to dedicate a higher percentage of it to your 2016 debt and therefore may be able to pay it off faster.

2. Set a realistic savings goal. The importance of having the appropriate amount of savings can not be emphasized enough. Many Georgians learned this hard lesson during the recent economic downturn when they found themselves out of work or with their employment hours severely reduced. Without savings to fall back on, many families had a very difficult time recovering from the recession. In 2017, make a savings goal and do what is necessary to achieve it. The general recommendation is to have an emergency fund with enough savings in it to meet you monthly expenses for six months. That figure may seem high in January but I you really dedicate yourself to the resolution, you may be pleasantly surprised at how far you have come by April or May.

3. Budget for big expenses coming in 2018. Are you (or your child) considering going to college in 2018? Maybe you are expecting a baby or you want to upgrade your home or car? Maybe 2018 is your anniversary and you want to take your spouse on a European vacation! All of these expenses will require careful planning and budgeting – and there is no better time to look to the future than in the present. Try upping the percentage of what you save each month (in addition to the emergency fund savings), and allocate those extra dollars to a special vacation or baby or house fund. Make 2017 part of your planning for 2018 to ensure that you don’t backslide all of the progress you achieve.

4. Improve your credit score. Hopefully the other resolutions you make will result in a higher credit score, but there are other actions you can take to do so as well. For example, if you have a late payment listed on your report, try calling up the creditor and requesting that they remove the late payment – especially if you have been a customer for several years and have only one blot on your payment record.

If you would like to get a fresh start Contact our office at 404-913-1529 to speak to an experience bankruptcy attorney about your case and to schedule your first meeting. We look forward to speaking with you!