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New Year's resolutions can take a lot of effort to put into action. We've got a much easier approach. Just stop doing these five financial things and you'll have more savings, smarter spending habits and a secure identity in the next year.

If you had a financial emergency, could you come up with $1,000 in a hurry? According to a survey, 69% of Americans have less than a grand in a savings account. To help you reach that initial $1,000 mark in just one year, or save more money if you’re already there, check out this chart:

With each new year come new resolutions to finally stick to a budget or gain control of those credit card bills. But managing your money so that you can get those bills paid on time isn’t always easy. In 2017, less than half of Americans budgeted and closely tracked their spending, according to the latest consumer financial literacy survey from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. Staying current with credit card payments was a struggle for 22 percent of survey respondents.

If you’ve resolved to get your credit card bills and other finances in order this year, success may require a bit of trial and error. If one method doesn’t work, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It simply means you need to try another approach. Here are some money management strategies to stay ahead of your bills and stick to a budget this year:

There are lots of ways to save money in the new year, from doing your own taxes to negotiating on tire prices. But when it comes to your digital life, some of the easiest tips for saving money come down to not overpaying for things you don’t really need or want. We list three easy tips below. These tactics won’t all work for all people, but they can be relatively painless for many of us.

f you have a high deductible insurance plan, you may also have a health savings account to go along with it. Health savings accounts allow you to put aside pre-tax funds to cover qualifying health costs. Opening a health savings account is a great way to cut the costs of healthcare and to save for costly services. Unfortunately, around 96% of people with a health savings account are making a mistake: they're not investing their HSA money.

Here are three steps for making your retirement even better in 2018:

6 employee stock plan mistakes to avoid

Stock options and employee stock purchase programs can be good opportunities to help build potential financial wealth. When managed properly, these benefits can help pay for future college expenses, retirement, or even a vacation home. But many investors get tripped up, don't pay attention to critical dates, and haphazardly manage their employee stock option grants. As a result, they may lose out on the many benefits these stock option plans can provide. To help ensure that you maximize your stock option benefits, avoid making these 6 common mistakes:

There are good reasons to convert a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA through the ability to take tax-free withdrawals in retirement can have many many advantages. However, there also may be reasons to reverse a Roth IRA conversion. For instance, a process known as recharacterization. But the window for recharacterizations is closing quickly, as the tax reform bill eliminated this strategy beginning in the 2018 tax year. If you converted to a Roth in 2017, you may be able to complete a recharacterization by the 2018 deadline. Why would you consider recharacterizing in 2018 a conversion completed in 2017?

The holidays may be over, but for many Americans the credit card debt remains. Preholiday polls showed that the average shopper planned to spend more than $900 on gifts, up from the $785 forecast in 2016. For those who charged purchases and are now trying to pay down the balance, here are a few tips to reach the goal faster:

More than one-third of the New Year’s resolutions Americans make are financial in nature. But many of these promises are long forgotten by the time Valentine’s Day rolls around. Stick to your goals by making good financial habits a top priority in the new year.

Have you checked your credit score lately (or ever)? Do you know how it’s calculated, or how to improve it? If not, no worries, you are not alone. A credit score is a number based on your credit history that represents your ability to repay a loan. Lenders use credit scores to help determine how likely you are to repay a particular type of loan.

The most widely used credit scores are FICO scores, which are used by 90 percent of top lenders. These credit scores, created by Fair Isaac Corp., are calculated based solely on information from consumer credit reports maintained at the credit reporting agencies.

The three main credit-reporting agencies (Equifax, TransUnion and Experian) all use FICO when calculating your credit score. And you have a score for each of the three, which is based on information the credit bureau keeps on file about you. FICO credit scores are rated as follows:

If you're married, planning for the day you'll become a widow or widower might not seem like the most fun activity. But the statistics suggest that it would be well worth your time and effort. Of all adults receiving monthly Social Security benefits, 45% were men and 55% were women. Eighty-one percent of the men and 66% of the women received retired-worker benefits. And the stats that really stand out are these:

You’ve spent your whole life saving for retirement . Now you’re finished working, and it’s time to start spending what you’ve saved. For many investors, the transition can be confusing or even traumatic. How will you tap your portfolio?

As investors approach this transition from saving to spending they should take three steps: start with a retirement income plan, keep their portfolio invested and diversified, and then rebalance their portfolio periodically to generate the cash they require. Here we’ll discuss the last step — creating your paycheck when rebalancing.

In 1751, Benjamin Franklin wrote the 18th-century equivalent of a listicle. His essay "Observations Concerning the Increase of Mankind, Peopling of Countries, etc." outlined two dozen ways in which marriages, births, deaths, race, labor, and other demographic trends would impact the country.

Franklin, it turns out, was ahead of his time.

When it comes to investing their retirement savings, investors have had it easy in recent years. Last year, U.S. stocks gained nearly 22%, which is about double the historic average. And since the beginning of 2009, the year the market bottomed out in the wake of the financial crisis, equities have gained an annualized 15%.

But with stock valuations stretched and the Federal Reserve expected to hike short-term interest rates three times over the coming year, experts warn that we could be in for significantly lower returns in the years ahead. Which makes it all the more important that you re-assess your investing strategy to ensure it’s based on realistic assumptions and that your portfolio is well-positioned for the long term, regardless of which direction the financial markets take this year.

Toward that end, here are three moves you should make now.

If you’ve read the latest headlines, you know millennials get a mixed financial rap. Some reports say they’re throwing their money away on avocado toast and dining out, while others claim they’re killing the earnings of restaurant chains by cooking at home more.

Whatever you believe about their financial habits, some millennials at least are sitting on six-figure retirement accounts. In a Fidelity Investments analysis of 59,000 millennials — those born between 1981 and 1997 — who have participated in their company’s 401(k) plan for 10 years, the average balance was $109,400 at the end of June 2017.

This isn’t thanks to rich parents. These savers can’t all work in investment banking. And odds are that at least some have student loan balances. Rather, the common thread — and secret to a fat 401(k) — is consistency.

The days of loyalty punch cards and clipping coupons are (almost) over. Just as technology has enabled us to get groceries and hot meals delivered to our doorstep with the touch of a button, it’s also made it even easier to find deals and score rewards at our favorite food destinations. Many major brands, from Starbucks to Whole Foods, have tinkered with their apps to entice customers, while other apps empower the supermarket shopper with choices. These are the best food apps that will make your wallet a little more full.

Thinking about a rollover from your old 401(k) or other employer sponsored retirement plan to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA)? It’s a pretty simple move that could open up more investing choices. After many generations where a one-company career was the norm, job hopping is becoming more regular. Changing jobs can complicate keeping track of employer-sponsored qualified retirement plans (QRP), which are often 401(k)s. But what about when you retire and leave the workforce for good? What should you do with your 401(k) then?

This process involves IRS regulations, so it’s understandable if you have many questions. Typically, once your employment ends, you have four options for your company-sponsored retirement assets:

Who has a lot of financial gears in motion and and hopes he can make sure they all stay well oiled...

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