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Allstate Recommends Five Ways to Improve Financial Health in 2015

[Sunday, February 1st, 2015]

Allstate wants to help consumers get financially healthier in 2015, and has issued a list of five steps people can take to improve their financial fitness throughout the coming year. These include more obvious things like setting goals and thinking long-term, but also things people might not think of, such as finding places to save just a small amount that adds up over time.

Bill Kavanaugh, senior vice president at Allstate Financial, said that if people want to increase their savings and decrease spending, they need to “evaluate their priorities, set goals and stick to them.”

His five steps, gleaned from working with clients who come to him seeking financial advice, are:

  1. Do your homework. Take advantage of all the free information available online, in books, and at seminars. Financial advisors can help you understand how specific information relates to your situation, but first you can look at the information available to you and make sure you know what’s out there. There is much valuable information people can access free of charge.
  2. Set goals. It’s hard to know if you’re making progress if you haven’t set specific goals. Besides your desired end results, have a timetable in mind to achieve them. Once you have a schedule and a list of goals, you’ll be in a better position to tackle them.
  3. Think long term. No matter how young you are, it’s not too early to think about retirement. On the other hand, it’s never too late either. Whether you plan to retire soon, a long time from now, or never, keep in mind that plans can change, and it’s essential to be prepared. Consult with a financial professional to make sure your finances are in good shape for retirement.
  4. Find small savings. It may seem that saving a dollar here or there won’t make much difference to your financial well-being. However, making small changes like taking your homemade lunch to work instead of eating out, brewing your own coffee and skipping the Starbucks, or changing your cable TV plan to a less expensive package, can really add up. Put the savings aside into a specially earmarked account, invest them wisely, and watching your savings grow.
  5. Tackle credit card debt. If you carry a lot of credit card debt, paying that down will not only reduce your debt, it will lessen your daily stress. Get control of your spending so you aren’t tempted to spend more than you can afford, make a plan to pay down your balances, and get help from a nonprofit credit counseling organization if you need advice on getting a handle on your debt.
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