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Planning Ahead Is Key To Success With Personal Finances

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MIAMI (CBS4)-It’s a new year and planning ahead is always best practice, especially when it comes to your personal finance.

As a veteran financial planner, Josh Mungavin of Coral Gables Evensky & Katz knows that planning is important.

“If you don’t plan for the year at the start, you may end up at the end of the year with expenses you hadn’t planned for,” Mungavin said.

And that may be especially true for 2012.

That’s because consumers charged up another $64 billion worth of credit card debt this past holiday season, according to the latest survey by Cardhub.com.

And to get ready for all of his new bills, Doral contractor Julio Garcia’s already cutting back on as many extra expenses as possible.

“I’m basically just trying to cut my expenses to the bone, cut back wherever possible, cut driving, cut eating out, buying gas at the station that’s a little cheaper,” he said.

Like everyone else, he’s not sure what the New Year may bring to South Florida’s economy.

So he’s not taking any chances with his bottom line.

That’s why financial planners said now is definitely the right time to consider a financial makeover.

Figure out your bottom line, including how much you owe, how much you earn, how much you’re paying-off in high interest rate loans. Find out if you can find any cheaper credit cards or refinance to lower-rate loans.

The goal? Try to increase your savings or investment accounts by finding a little extra money at the end of the month you can put away.

Here are some more tips:

  • Don’t forget interest rates on car loans are at near-record lows along with home mortgages.
  • Banks and credit unions are offering refinancing deals which can cut your monthly payments.
  • Double-check your credit card interest rates and pay off the cards with the highest rates first.

Try to remember your worst money-management mistakes of 2011. While last year is still fresh in your memory, make sure not to make the same mistakes again in 2012.

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