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Prioritizing Your Financial Health in the New Year

As we welcome the new year, many people set their goals with the hope of changing their lives in the months to come. Some may set their sights on losing weight or training for a marathon, while others may consider new ways to spend more time with family or other loved ones. Whatever your plans, consider adding a few of the financial changes described below to your resolution list, too, to help you turn 2022 into a better year.


Pay Down Debt

Having debt is normal, but having too much debt—particularly as your credit card statements start flowing in after the holidays—can quickly become overwhelming. As you start the year, make a plan to pay off the debts with the highest interest rates first. Also, it’s always wise to pay more than the minimum payment. So if you’re financially able to pay a bit more than the monthly amount due on your mortgage, car loan, or other debt, do so. You’ll pay off your debt faster and save more on interest in the long run.


Increase Your Savings

Perhaps you’d like to save for a dream vacation, a down payment for a new home, or an emergency fund to cover the unexpected. By setting a goal and outlining a timeline and strategy for reaching it, you’ll find it easier to achieve your desired result.


Develop a Budget

Budgeting isn’t exactly glamorous, but even the Warren Buffetts of the world need to incorporate a budget into their financial plans. When developing your new budget, it may help you to think of it as a spending plan instead. How much will you spend on food, entertainment, and education during the year? By planning out your expenditures, you’ll have a better understanding of where you’re allocating your income and how much is available to spend on each activity in a given week, month, or year—whichever timeline best suits your planning style.


Review Your Credit Report

Your credit report is a critical component of your financial health. It’s important to check it annually, so you can monitor where you stand and keep an eye out for potential credit fraud. You are entitled to one free report per year from each of the three major credit-reporting agencies—Equifax, Transunion, and Experian. Use a website such as to request your reports at the beginning of the year (or request one at a time throughout the year). This way, you can file disputes regarding any erroneous information, as well as evaluate how you might increase your overall credit health during the year. 


Protect Your Identity

Thanks to the wonders of technology, banking, shopping, and even finding long-lost friends and family members online is easier than ever. But at the same time, it’s also easier to inadvertently expose our personal information to those looking to exploit it. Protecting your identity can be as simple as monitoring your accounts—including online bank accounts, social media profiles, and your personal email.


Here are a few tips:


  • Review your monthly statements for any suspicious activity.
  • Avoid using your social security number whenever possible.
  • Be sure that you are on a secure website (the URL will begin with https) before you submit personal information online.
  • Be wary of opening suspicious emails—and don’t click on any attachments. Err on the side of caution, and contact the company directly if you receive any suspicious emails, letters, or phone calls regarding any of your accounts.

Start a College Fund

Education expenses have continued to increase, so the sooner you can begin putting money away, the better off you’ll be. Whether you are saving for a child’s or grandchild’s—or your own—education, there are multiple investment tools that can help you develop an effective college savings plan. Work with your financial advisor to evaluate your unique situation and select the best option for pursuing your goals.


Assess Life Changes

As our lives change from year to year, we may not be aware of how these changes can affect our financial health. Embarking on new career, welcoming a new baby to the family, purchasing a new property, or even just getting one year closer to retirement may all require you to revisit your financial plan and long-term goals. It’s a good idea to review your insurance coverage, retirement plan, will, and estate plan annually to ensure that all aspects of your life are incorporated.


Further Your Financial Knowledge

There are a number of websites, TV shows, and books available to help you educate yourself on personal finance best practices and the financial industry in general. Be sure to reach out to your financial advisor if you find a topic you would like to learn more about. This will not only provide you with a deeper understanding of your investments and other financial matters, but it also will allow you and your advisor to improve your financial goals through communication on topics that interest you.


Achieving Your Financial Fitness Goals

These are just a few changes that can help improve your overall financial health. Try incorporating one or two into your resolutions for 2022, and check in with yourself regularly to evaluate your progress toward your goals. You might be surprised how quickly things can change for the better when you commit to improving your financial life. As always, your financial advisor can help you stay on track toward your goals and reevaluate your options at any point along the way.


Presented by Weiss, Hale & Zahansky Strategic Wealth Advisors. Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network®, Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser. These materials are general in nature and do not address your specific situation. For your specific investment needs, please discuss your individual circumstances with your representative. Weiss, Hale & Zahansky Strategic Wealth Advisors does not provide tax or legal advice, and nothing in the accompanying pages should be construed as specific tax or legal advice. 697 Pomfret Street, Pomfret Center, CT 06259, 860-928-2341.

© 2021 Commonwealth Financial Network®

This award was issued on 11/1/21 by Five Star Professional (FSP) for the time period 2/15/21 through 09/10/21. Fee paid for use of marketing materials. Self-completed questionnaire was used for rating. This rating is not related to the quality of the investment advice and based solely on the disclosed criteria. 3191 Connecticut-area wealth managers were considered for the award; 272 (9% of candidates) were named 2021 Five Star Wealth Managers. The following prior year statistics use this format: YEAR: # Considered, # Winners, % of candidates, Issued Date, Research Period. 2020: 3048, 285, 9%, 11/2/20, 2/17/20 - 9/18/20; 2019: 3147, 289, 9%, 11/1/19, 2/18/19 - 9/27/19; 2018: 3178, 293, 9%, 11/1/18, 2/15/18 - 9/21/18; 2017: 2218, 283, 13%, 11/1/17, 2/15/17 - 9/11/17; 2016: 1985, 417, 21%, 10/1/16, 3/25/16 - 9/28/16; 2015: 2398, 468, 20%, 11/1/15, 3/16/15 - 9/10/15; 2014: 3926, 515, 13%, 11/1/14, 3/16/13 - 9/10/13; 2013: 2263, 531, 23%, 11/1/13, 3/16/12 - 9/10/12; 2012: 2204, 503, 23%, 11/1/12, 3/16/11 - 9/10/11.
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*Winners appearing on this page do not pay a fee to be considered or to win the Five Star Award. Professionals with a digital profile have paid a promotional fee.
Wealth managers do not pay a fee to be considered or placed on the final list of Five Star Wealth Managers. The award is based on 10 objective criteria. Eligibility criteria-required: 1. Credentialed as a registered investment adviser (RIA) or a registered investment adviser representative; 2. Actively licensed as a RIA or as a principal of a registered investment adviser firm for a minimum of 5 years; 3. Favorable regulatory and complaint history review (As defined by FSP, the wealth manager has not; A. Been subject to a regulatory action that resulted in a license being suspended or revoked, or payment of a fine; B. Had more than a total of three settled or pending complaints filed against them and/or a total of five settled, pending, dismissed or denied complaints with any regulatory authority or FSP's consumer complaint process. Unfavorable feedback may have been discovered through a check of complaints registered with a regulatory authority or complaints registered through FSP's consumer complaint process; feedback may not be representative of any one client's experience; C. Individually contributed to a financial settlement of a customer complaint; D. Filed for personal bankruptcy within the past 11 years; E. Been terminated from a financial services firm within the past 11 years; F. Been convicted of a felony); 4. Fulfilled their firm review based on internal standards; 5. Accepting new clients. Evaluation criteria-considered: 6. One-year client retention rate; 7. Five-year client retention rate; 8. Non-institutional discretionary and/or non-discretionary client assets administered; 9. Number of client households served; 10. Education and professional designations. FSP does not evaluate quality of services provided to clients. The award is not indicative of the wealth manager's future performance . Wealth Managers may or may not use discretion in their practice and therefore may not manage their clients' assets. The inclusion of a wealth manager on the Five Star Wealth Manager list should not be construed as an endorsement of the wealth manager by FSP or this publication. Working with a Five Star Wealth Manager or any wealth manager is no guarantee as to future investment success, nor is there any guarantee that the selected wealth managers will be awarded this accomplishment by FSP in the future. Visit