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Personal finance: Money resolutions for 2014

Start the new year off with a fresh commitment to sound financial habits.

Start the new year off with a fresh commitment to sound financial habits, said Gloria McDonough-Taub in CNBC.com. “Getting your financial matters in order” doesn’t need to take over your life. By “cutting up the big issues into bite-size, manageable tasks,” you can get a lot done just by setting aside a minute each day. “In one minute you can review your bank balances, pay a bill or two, even contact your bank, your credit card company, or a lender for a quick check on an issue that may keep you up at night.” Making that checkup a regular habit will allow you to better “face up to your financial fears.”

New Year’s resolutions these days tend more than ever to center on finances, said Melanie Hicken in CNN.com. Over half of respondents to a recent survey by Fidelity Investments said they’d considered making financial resolutions—up from 35 percent in 2009. The most popular goal is to save more, followed by paying off debt and curbing spending. But beyond those basics, there are “some money resolutions that are especially important for 2014.” Since 2013 was “a fantastic year for the stock market,” chances are that “your nest egg is invested more heavily in stocks than it was at the beginning of the year.” So before 2014 gets too far underway, take a moment to rebalance your portfolio to “make sure that you have a proper allocation of stocks and bonds for your age and risk tolerance.” Take a fresh look at your debt, too. If you’re “hoping to buy a home or lower your monthly debt payments,” take advantage of low interest rates before they rise any further.

Boomers, in particular, should closely scrutinize their finances, said Casey Dowd in FoxBusiness.com. Anyone planning to retire in the coming years should link day-to-day financial habits “to a larger savings goal.” Cut down on unnecessary expenses each month and funnel that extra cash into a retirement account for your twilight years. “A wise plan of action is to meet with a financial professional during this time and discuss any changes and/or late-stage opportunities,” including making catch-up contributions to your retirement savings plans. As Social Security benefits and tax rules on retirement accounts become a larger part of your financial picture, it becomes more important than ever to “be engaged in your finances.”

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