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New year, new budget: A 2024 financial challenge

What we'll cover

  • How to start the year off right - financially

  • A week-by-week guide to walk you through each step

  • Tools that can help you pursue your goals 

Whether you're a person who always sets New Year's resolutions or you just decided 2024 is the year to tackle your finances, we're here to help. It can feel overwhelming to tackle everything at once. Take it one step at a time with this week-by-week challenge.

Week 1: Create a budget

Your budget is your financial foundation. If you don't have a budget yet, challenge yourself to build one. As you start to construct your budget, consider your priorities and lifestyle to identify the plan that fits your needs .

The 50/30/20 budget is a great place to begin. This approach divides all your expenses into three categories: needs, wants, and savings or debt. If you're still unsure where to start, take our budgeting style quiz to find the method that may work best for you.

Week 2: Build an emergency fund and boost your savings

Want to save more money in 2024? Start by setting up your emergency fund . Whether it's a medical event, job loss or another unexpected bump in the road, an emergency fund can be a cushion during tough financial times.

Next, work on  maximizing your savings . Use this  savings by age  guide to find the right goal for how much you should save. And if you need some help to get motivated, try microsaving or visualization techniques .

Week 3: Make a plan to tackle your debt

Debt can feel overwhelming. Consider different strategies to find the one that works best for you. Whether you opt for the snowball method  or another approach, you can take steps to pay off credit cards , student loans and other types of debt over time. You also don't have to choose between saving more and paying down debt . You can work on both goals at once.

A solid budget is the blueprint for your financial success.

Review your credit report

As you evaluate your debt, this week is a good time to also check your credit score . If you're planning to buy a house or take out a business loan in 2024, you need a strong credit score . In the new year, take a close look at your credit report. If you want to boost your score, there are some simple steps to raise it .

Week 4: Start investing 

New year, new opportunities to invest in your financial future — literally. If you're new to the market, explore your choices to find the right investment types for you. Whether you use a robo advisor or work with a wealth advisor , investing can be a good way to build wealth .

Plan for retirement

This would also be a good week to reevaluate your retirement accounts (or open one, if you haven't already). No matter your age, it's never too early to start preparing for your golden years. During this week, take some time to check your accounts, map out your retirement goals and either open an account or see if there are opportunities to improve your current approach. Are you on track? Or maybe, after making your budget earlier this month, you found extra money to contribute this year? These are all questions to answer. If you're wondering how much you need to retire, here's a good place to learn more .

If you're wondering how to start saving consider an IRA, 401k or other retirement account types .

Make your financial resolutions count

The new year is the perfect time to challenge yourself to optimize your financial future. Push yourself to set new goals, review your risk tolerance and make it your best financial year yet.

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