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Watching Your Wallet: Make smart money moves before 2020

2020 will be here before you know it, which is why it's time to check your finances. Can you get more bang for your buck in the new year?

By: Rachel DePompa, InvestigateTV

Originally published: Dec. 9, 2019

(InvestigateTV) – The countdown is on to 2020, and financial experts want to make sure your money is a perfect 20/20 headed into the new year too.

“It’s such a good time of year to reflect on what are your goals not just in the near future, but in the long term,” said Kim Palmer, a personal finance expert with NerdWallet.

Palmer has four easy moves to make now.

1. Make your longterm goals for 2020, and don’t make resolutions that you’ll eventually break.

“Do you want to buy a house in the next three to five years? Do you want to go on some major vacation? Whatever those goals are, they typically have a savings goal attached,” Palmer said.

Palmer suggested really thinking about what is coming up and making the big goal.

“If you need to open up a new savings account to meet that goal, it’s a good time to do it. Try to put your savings into something like a high yield savings account, so it’s not just sitting there. It’s actually working for you,” Palmer said.

2. Pay off debt.

“Credit card debt especially is so expensive, and you don’t want to drag that into the new year if you can help it. So, try to make more than your minimum payment on your credit card and unload that,” Palmer said.

NerdWallet found that credit card interest rates have actually climbed 35% in five years, which is why unloading that credit card debt should be a top priority.

3. Look over your insurance.

Don’t just let it auto-renew, especially your auto insurance. A NerdWallet study found, on average, people can save over $400 just by shopping around.

4. Get your savings on track.

Max out your contributions to your 401k or IRA for the tax advantages.

“The limit is $19,000 dollars. If you’re 50 or older, and you have an additional $6,000, you can contribute. It’s a great goal to hit at the end of the year,” Palmer said.

If those figures are daunting, Palmer said to make it the realistic goal for next year.

“You can even start slowly. So, if you want to… have 10% of your money going directly into retirement account by the end of the year, you can start in January with just 2% and then just slowly raise it as the year goes on,” Palmer said.

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