Three easy ways to get financially fit in 2015

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. —  A new year marks a “new you” for so many people, or at least, that’s the goal when we make resolutions.

WREG spoke with several people about their resolutions for 2015.

“Just having a better life, doing better things than I did,” replied one resident at the library.

“A positive new life really, to leave the past behind me and start fresh,” said another.

A fresh start for some and a head start for soon to be college graduate Ebony Artis.

“I think I do need to start putting in applications for potential careers,” said Artis, who had been making copies of her resume the day WREG ran into her.

When it comes to resolutions, fitness typically tops finances, but it’s not far behind.

If you resolved to get financially fit in 2015, Red Door Wealth Management Chief Operating Officer Fred Hiatt has three, simple steps to stay on track.

Pay down debt

While some experts advocate starting with the balance that carries the highest interest rate, Hiatt encourages consumers to tackle a balance with a lower amount first.

He says instead of sending several hundred dollars to multiple creditors each month; consumers can pay smaller amounts on some card balances and focus on paying off one.

“Go to one, stick all your money on it, get it paid off, and I think it will give you that feeling of accomplishment and then you’re motivated even more at that point.”

Build an emergency savings

“Look at maybe three to six months of what it takes to run your household, and then, since you’ve paid off your credit cards, take those dollars that you were allocating to that and start going to your savings account at your bank.”

An easy way to get in the habit of saving is to simply have the funds automatically deducted from your paycheck.

Plan for retirement

Once you’ve paid down some debt and stashed away cash for a rainy day, start planning for retirement.

Hiatt explained, “I would figure out what is the max I can put in there, most of us can’t really put the max in there, but whatever that number is, pick that and that would be step three.”

It’s also critical to create and follow a spending plan.

That budget will be a road map to keeping the resolution!