Getting the New Year Off to a Good Start

It’s New Year’s resolution time and the personal finance press is full of suggested goals. Here are two of the better recommendations from a recent _Yahoo Finance_ column. First, take advantage of the high interest rates being paid on savings accounts and money market funds, many of which are paying five percent or better. If you keep a high balance in a checking account paying little or no interest, consider moving some of that money into a higher interest savings account or money market mutual fund. Second, if you’re eligible to participate in a 401(k) plan at work make sure you’re contributing enough to take full advantage of any match your company offers. Your employer’s match is the easiest money you’ll ever make.
h3(matt). Matt’s View
p(matt). I would add two ideas to the list. First, if you’re carrying a balance on your credit cards, make this the year that you get out of debt, or at least start moving in that direction. If you’d like help with this goal, drop me a line and I’ll e-mail you a free and brief _Dumping Debt_ packet. Next, check your credit report and buy your credit score. To get a free report from each of the three credit bureaus, go to “”: While it’s crazy that we have to pay for our score, that’s just the way it is. So, buy your “FICO” score from Equifax, one of the three bureaus, for $7.95. Everyone should know his or her score because it impacts everything from mortgage rates to insurance rates. And, you should know this: the single most effective way to keep your score healthy is to pay your bills on time.

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