Credit Counselors Offer Important Financial Must-Dos Before 2017

While 2017 is quickly approaching, it is important that consumers take a minute and review their current finances and consider their goals for the New Year. Although 2016 is coming to a close, it is not too late to tie up loose ends and achieve end of the year financial goals. To help with this process, American Consumer Credit Counseling offers consumers five financial must-do’s before the end of the year.

“The new year often brings inspiration to either recommit to past financial resolutions or set new ones based on successes and challenges experienced during the previous year,” said Steve Trumble, President and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling, which is based in Newton, MA. “By planning ahead consumers have the ability to start putting their new financial resolutions to practice before 2017 begins.”

According to the Financial Resolutions Survey & Report 2017 by LendEDU, more than half of the respondents (52 percent) say that saving more money is their most important financial resolution in 2017. Of the respondents, 53 percent said their biggest financial concern going into 2017 is unexpected expenses followed by healthcare costs (24 percent), higher interest rates (10 percent), the labor market (8 percent) and stock market fluctuations (5 percent). Compared to 2016, 78 percent of respondents believe they will be better off financially in 2017.

American Consumer Credit Counseling offers consumers five financial must-do’s before the end of the year:

1. Utilize benefits – There are some employee benefits that expire by the end of the year, such as vacation, sick time and medical flexible-spending accounts. Now is the time to sign up or renew any of the benefits that are offered by your employer, such as retirement, wellness savings or healthcare plans. If you have not enrolled in a 401K, now is the time to do so. If you are already enrolled, consider increasing your contributions.

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2. Check credit reports – Although there is no deadline, it is best to check on these reports, especially if they have not been accessed in a while. Be sure to check for any errors or omissions that need to be corrected. Equifax, Experian and TransUnion each offer one free credit report every 12 months.

3. Start a budget for 2017 – Be sure to track all expenses over a 12-month period to get a full grasp on your annual spending. Once you are able to identify your monthly spending, it is easy to detect areas where you can cut back. ACCC offers a budgeting worksheet to help consumers compute their monthly expenses to set a realistic budget for the year.

4. Donate to a charity – The holiday season is the perfect time for consumers to give back to their favorite charity. Not only are you able to make a charitable contribution, but it will also be deducted on your 2016 tax return. The donation must be itemized in order to have it be deductible on federal returns.

5. Review debt – Consumers should review their outstanding debt and pay off what they can. It is important that all credit cards are paid off or balances are reduced as 2016 comes to a close. – Source


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