6 Ways To Feel More Financially Prepared In The New Year

It’s safe to say we can all agree that 2022 has been a stressful year for people’s finances: Inflation surged, having a profound impact on the costs of essentials like gas and groceries; interest rates increased with every rate hike set by the Federal Reserve so it became more expensive to take on debt; and, of course, the stock market took many tumbles, which left many investors feeling shaken.

And let’s not forget the talk of a potential recession and the mass layoffs that have become more common since the summertime.

While these events are out of our control, there are still steps you can take in 2023 to feel a little more confident and prepared with our finances.

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1. Build your emergency fund

UFB Best Savings

UFB Best Savings is a Member FDIC.

  • Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

  • Minimum balance

  • Monthly fee

  • Maximum transactions

  • Excessive transactions fee

  • Overdraft fees

  • Offer checking account?

  • Offer ATM card?

Marcus by Goldman Sachs High Yield Online Savings

Goldman Sachs Bank USA is a Member FDIC.

  • Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

  • Minimum balance

    None to open; $1 to earn interest

  • Monthly fee

  • Maximum transactions

    Up to 6 free withdrawals or transfers per statement cycle *The 6/statement cycle withdrawal limit is waived during the coronavirus outbreak under Regulation D

  • Excessive transactions fee

  • Overdraft fees

  • Offer checking account?

  • Offer ATM card?

2. Check your credit score

Experian Boost®

On Experian’s secure site

  • Cost

  • Average credit score increase

    13 points, though results vary

  • Credit report affected

  • Credit scoring model used

Results will vary. See website for details.

3. Create a plan for paying for large upcoming expenses

4. Save money for student loan payments

5. Create a plan for paying down debt

Wells Fargo Reflect® Card

On Wells Fargo’s secure site

  • Rewards

  • Welcome bonus

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

    0% intro APR for 18 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers. Intro APR extension for 3 months with on-time minimum payments during the intro period. 17.24% – 29.24% Variable APR thereafter

  • Regular APR

    17.24% – 29.24% variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance transfer fee

    Introductory fee of 3% for 120 days from account opening, then up to 5% ($5 minimum)

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit needed

Another balance transfer card option is the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card since it offers an introductory 0% APR for 15 months from account opening (after, 19.24%, 24.24%, or 29.24% variable APR ). However, this card also offers a welcome bonus: you can earn $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first three months. Plus, you’ll earn 2% cash rewards on all purchases making this a great cash-back card to hold long term.

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

On Wells Fargo’s secure site

  • Rewards

    Unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

    0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate

  • Regular APR

    19.24%, 24.24%, or 29.24% variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance transfer fee

    Introductory fee of 3% for 120 days from account opening, then up to 5% ($5 minimum)

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit needed

Another way to pay down debt a little faster is to use a debt consolidation loan. With these types of personal loans, you apply for an amount that’s enough to cover all your debt balances and the lender will send the funds to each of your creditors — you’ll then only be responsible for paying back the debt consolidation loan which should have a lower interest rate than your credit card.

SoFi Personal Loans is a promising contender since this lender lets you apply for up to $100,000. This makes it ideal for those who carry much higher debt balances. Marcus by Goldman Sachs Personal Loans is another solid option since this lender will directly pay up to 10 creditors for you.

SoFi Personal Loans

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

    7.99% to 23.43% when you sign up for autopay

  • Loan purpose

    Debt consolidation/refinancing, home improvement, relocation assistance or medical expenses

  • Loan amounts

  • Terms

  • Credit needed

  • Origination fee

  • Early payoff penalty

  • Late fee

Marcus by Goldman Sachs Personal Loans

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

    6.99% to 24.99% APR when you sign up for autopay

  • Loan purpose

    Debt consolidation, home improvement, wedding, moving and relocation or vacation

  • Loan amounts

  • Terms

  • Credit needed

  • Origination fee

  • Early payoff penalty

  • Late fee

6. Find a financial planner you’ll enjoy working with

A financial planner can help you navigate life’s largest financial challenges so you can reach your goals. It can really help to have another perspective from someone who’s an expert in the space and that’s exactly with a CFP can do.

You can use a service like Zoe Financial to search for nearby financial planners who specialize in the areas you need the most help with. Your first consultation call is typically free, so you can speak with the CFP to figure out if they’re right for you and if they’re someone you’ll have a good experience working with.

Bottom line

While 2022 was a financially tumultuous year with many twists and turns, there are steps every individual can take to walk into 2023 feeling a little more prepared. Building an emergency fund and creating plans for making large purchases and paying down debt are some of the most important things you can do as you close out the year. But don’t forget to always seek professional help for personalized recommendations.

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Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.