Home > Personal Finance > 4 Ways to Get Financially Healthy in 2017

Comments 0 Comments

Next year will be here before we know it. Now is a great time to brush up on your financial health to ensure you have a happy and financially healthy new year. Here are some tips to help you get started.

1. Check Your Credit Report

You can obtain a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three major credit reporting agencies at AnnualCreditReport.com. Consider taking a second look at some financial mistakes you might have made in the past — maybe you missed a couple of payments on your credit card or took out too many credit cards at once, causing multiple hard inquiries.

You might want to write down what you did right and what you did wrong to help you not make those same mistakes in 2017. Since you are checking your credit report, you might also want to take a look at your credit score and think about ways you can boost your score in the new year. (You can view two of your credit scores, updated every 14 days, for free on Credit.com.)

Taking a look at your credit report can also help you check for any irregularities such as fraud or identify theft. It’s a good idea to stay on top of your finances to avoid fraudulent activity.

2. Cash in Missing Money

Missing or unclaimed money could be checks that haven’t been cashed yet, dormant bank accounts, insurance refunds, etc. Now is the time to cash in your unclaimed money and put it toward any leftover debt you have so it doesn’t persist into the new year. If you paid off most of your debt, then consider putting your extra cash toward an emergency fund or savings account.

3. Tackle Your Debt

Paying down or reducing your debt in 2017 can be a great New Year’s resolution to start with. After checking your credit report, you might want to create a plan on how to pay off your debt in a timely manner. If you have a high-interest rate credit card with a high balance, then consider starting with that and going from there. (This credit card payoff calculator can help you come up with a plan.)

Consider taking a look at your bank statements from 2016. You might have been spending more on non-essential items than essential expenses. Go over the items that are most important and considered a need and not a want. If you have any outstanding debt, then you might want to skip over some of those extra indulgences until your debt is wiped clean.

4. Establish Savings Goals

Having a savings account in the new year will help you prepare for unexpected expenses and could even help you reach your financial goals (a new car, saving for a house, vacation, etc.). Take a look at your budget to help you devise a practical plan and consider having a start and end date to reach your savings goal.

Image: Geber86

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Credit.com receives compensation for the financial products and services advertised on this site if our users apply for and sign up for any of them.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team