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Financial Planning Tips for Every New Year

Financial success always starts with a plan, and there is no better time to create one than with the arrival of a new year. Much more than a resolution, a financial plan is a guide that can be used every year to help keep you on budget. No matter what lies ahead in 2024’s economy, doing what you can to prepare your budget will help reduce stress and increase your financial wellness in the year to come. In this blog, we will go over financial planning tips that you can use to make this the best year yet.

Create a Budget

A smart way to prepare for the new year is to create a budget. Budgeting forces you to review your finances in an honest and frank manner by identifying all of your income, expenditures (bills) and other expenses to see where you stand with your money. By budgeting, you are able to take a financial snapshot that can help you identify ways to cut expenses, save money and make other changes which improve your financial wellness. According to CNBC, finding less expensive alternatives for things such as name-brand items at department and clothing stores may help you save money and let you do more throughout the year.

Consider Investments

Investment planning for the new year is important because it lets you maximize earnings on your money. According to, a well-rounded investment plan will let you generate income, reduce tax liability, give you financial freedom and provide financial peace of mind for you and your family.

Investment planning is personal because no one knows your financial situation better than you. Some questions to ask yourself include, “What’s my current financial situation?” and “What are my financial goals?” These questions may help you focus your goals for 2024, according to Research the various ways to invest, which include stocks, bonds, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds and more.

Some financial institutions, such as Travis Credit Union, offer free financial consultations with in-house financial advisors to answer questions you may have about investment and wealth management.

Plan for Retirement

It is a good idea to take advantage of any type of retirement plan offered by your employer. This could be a 401(k), IRA, pension plan or any other type of retirement program. The best advice is to start saving early for retirement and to continue contributing to the program until you are ready to retire. If you have switched jobs, you can roll over an old employer’s 401(k) into a new program or convert it into an IRA. If you are already part of a plan, assess your retirement assets to see if you are on track for your goals. This will let you adjust as needed each year to reach your target.

You can find retirement plan calculators online that can provide estimated balances based on your contribution level, company match, interest rate and other data. Also, knowing your retirement plan balance may help you find tax-saving opportunities, according to Consult with your financial planner to explore options that work best for you.

Tax Planning and Savings

With a new year comes a new tax season, and if you have earned income last year, you will have to file a tax return. Preparing for tax season early in the year will let you receive a potential tax return sooner rather than later. Gather all the necessary documents needed early in the year, which include your wage and income statements, donation receipts, qualified expenses and more.

There are tax service programs available that can help you save money when filing your taxes. They can include discounted or reduced filing costs, self-filing software programs and free filing options, according to Consult with your tax adviser to discuss what you will need to file your 2023 tax return. For example, Travis Credit Union offers discounted tax services for members.

Building an Emergency Fund

Building an emergency fund can help you stay prepared this year. An easy way to build your savings is to automatically set aside funds each paycheck using direct deposit. This will let you save money in a separate account without having to make deposits or transfer funds each payday. For example, setting aside $50 a month for your savings adds up to $600 in a year.

An emergency fund is useful for unexpected expenses, such as a car or home repair, a medical or dental bill, an unexpected vet visit and more, says A good target is to save between three to six months of living expenses.

Pay Off Debt

Freeing yourself from debt is a great goal to have for 2024. Utilizing a debt elimination strategy can make it easier to get it done. According to, there are several methods you can follow, with the two most common approaches below:

  • Avalanche Method: This method focuses on paying off the account with the highest interest rate first. Once that high-rate debt has been paid off, you’ll move all of your payments to the loan account with the next highest interest rate. You continue to do this until all of your debt accounts are paid off.
  • Snowball Method: This method focuses on paying off the lowest balance first while making minimum payments on your other debt accounts. Once you have paid off the lowest balance, allocate all that payment money to the debt account with the next highest balance. Continue to build or snowball the size of your payment until you pay off all of your debt.

How TCU Can Help

You are not alone when it comes to improving your financial health. Travis Credit Union has the tools and resources to help you get a good start this year. You can take our Financial Wellness Assessment to see where you stand with your financial knowledge and then visit our Financial Wellness Hub to learn how you can plan, save, spend and borrow better.

Our free and convenient Mobile and Online Banking systems make managing your money easier by providing you with your latest credit scores, letting you deposit paper checks via the mobile app, as well as transfer funds, send money to others and more. Plus, you can read our Financial Wellness Blog to learn more about personal finances.

Good luck in the new year!

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