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KERA's One Crisis Away project focuses on North Texans living on the financial edge.

An Expert's Guide To Starting 2017 On Solid Financial Footing

Magnetic Mcc

Some people struggling with money may decide to make big changes to mark the start of 2017.

Experts say there is a right and wrong way to approach financial New Year’s resolutions—and people hoping to succeed need to know the difference. Certified financial planner Hannah Moore gives her best practices.

Interview Highlights: Hannah Moore 

…the best first financial step for 2017: “Go back three months and don’t just estimate where you are spending your money but actually get the hard numbers, it’s the number one things that I tell people. Get those real numbers, and once you start seeing that and seeing that on a regular basis, oftentimes that will help set you up for success.”

…what folks should do with their tax returns: “You always make a plan. If you don’t have a plan for your money, it, most of the time, is going to get spent. So really look at what are your goals for this year, what do you want to achieve this year, and start mapping out a plan for that. If you’re trying to pay off credit card debt, your tax return is a great place to start making significant progress on that. Your expenses will always rise to your income. So many times people get a pay raise at a job and all of the sudden they’re just like ‘how are we spending this money?’ I mean, see it all the time.”

...why ‘winging it’ isn’t the best bet: “Because life doesn’t often go the way we want it to go unless we have some intentionality behind it. If life was just going to go the way it was going to go, you might not ever be able to retire. So being intentional about those changes and really implementing that plans allows you to achieve those things that maybe not everybody in their life can achieve.”

Courtney Collins has been working as a broadcast journalist since graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 2004. Before coming to KERA in 2011, Courtney worked as a reporter for NPR member station WAMU in Washington D.C. While there she covered daily news and reported for the station’s weekly news magazine, Metro Connection.