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New Year, New Goals, New Potential for Financial Freedom

We did it.We made it past the election. Summer came and went and the holidays are in full swing. We managed to fill up on good deeds in our community and now, we’re on the brink of a new year.

While most people are making plans to get dressed up for New Year’s Eve, be sure to make at least a little bit of time to address your finances as you step into 2017. It doesn’t have to be daunting. In fact, it’s as easy as plotting out five simple steps to make your money work for you. Simply remembering to save, spend, grow, protect and give will give you the foundation to get right with your finances before making it out to that epic New Year’s Eve celebration you have been so excited about since Thanksgiving!

SAVE

Build up savings to cover life’s goals and surprises today to help you afford a comfortable life tomorrow. Set aside money every chance you get. Think of it as paying yourself. Set a schedule—weekly or monthly—to make it happen. Better yet, know why you need cash at the ready, both now and in the future. Clear goals serve as a motivator to build those savings and to resist dipping into them on a whim.

SPEND

Manage what you have to cover what you need, what you owe and what you want. Surprised to see “spend” in this list of important financial actions? Don’t be. Planning and managing expenses is essential to financial success. By spending wisely, you can afford the things you need, eliminate debts like student loans, and still have cash for what you want. The key is to strike the right balance between what you have and what you spend.

GROW

Invest in ways that match your goals, your timeline and your tolerance for risk.

Investing means putting your money in places where its value can change over time. Although the goal is growth, investing does bring risk—but don’t let that frighten you away. Instead, manage the risk. Work with a skilled financial professional to find an investment strategy that fits your appetite for risk and reward. Start now, even if that means starting small.

PROTECT

Help safeguard your most important financial assets: the money you’ve already saved and the future paychecks you need to support your lifestyle. You’ve worked hard to get where you are today, and you have the talent and resources to build an even greater lifestyle. Make sure you have a plan to help protect it all—the money you’ve already accumulated and the paychecks still to come—with life insurance and disability income insurance. These practical policies can help you keep moving forward even if something causes you to take a step back.

GIVE

Where would you like to make a difference? When you have time or money to share with causes that matter to you, what people and purposes will you support? With your own time and money in order, it’s easier to support others in need. By setting aside a few hours or dollars (or both) a month or year, you can help a friend, support your community, give to a global cause, or maybe even establish a fund of your own.

No matter where you are on your journey to financial freedom, it’s okay to seek out some help. Set yourself up for success by getting a jump on the planning process. Not ready to talk to a financial professional about your goals yet? There’s plenty you can do on your own. Start by doing your homework and reading up on ways to make it easier to make your money work for you.