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Posted on December 30, 2008

The New Year marks the beginning of new goals, opportunities and exciting adventures. For some, it is a time of reflection on past experiences and accomplishments in order to make resolutions for the future. One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is to improve one’s personal economy—to save more, spend less and pay off debt.

Crafting this year’s financial resolutions may prove to be one of the most difficult and important tasks done all year. Between the mortgage and credit crises, uncertain energy prices and stagnant economic growth, consumers are feeling more pinched each week and don’t know where to turn.

To help those looking to improve their financial situation, Money Management International (MMI), the nation’s largest nonprofit credit and debt counseling and education agency, created FinancialLiteracyMonth.com—a micro site that offers a step-by-step plan for improving your financial know-how. Consider the following tips to help develop your financial New Year’s resolutions and take the right steps toward financial wellness:

• Make a commitment – It’s time to be honest with yourself about your financial situation. Make a real commitment to improving your financial well-being and take the pledge to move into the black in 2009. It helps to share your goals with a friend or family member to remain accountable.

• Assess your financial situation – Start your journey with a self-assessment and learn more about where your finances stand today. Visit FinancialLiteracyMonth.com and take a simple ten-question quiz to assess your personal financial situation.

• Clear out the clutter – Getting your financial house organized is a great way to begin the New Year and start on the path toward financial wellness. Visit www.IRS.gov to learn more about which documents are needed for tax purposes and which you can get rid of.

• Set yourself up for success – Appoint a “family CFO” to decide how your family will manage its money and who will work hard to keep everyone on track.. Consider electronic funds transfers and online bill pay service to help make the job of the CFO easier.

• Get copies of your credit reports – Access your free credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com or call 877-322-8228. You can look for errors and fraudulent charges as well as learn how your credit score impacts interest rates, car loans, job searches and more.

“Setting financial resolutions and keeping them are two different issues—research shows that 37 percent of consumers don’t keep their New Year’s resolutions,” said Cate Williams, vice president of financial literacy for MMI. “After you’ve set your goals, maintain your commitment throughout the year by breaking the goals down into smaller, short-term tasks. We always feel better if we see results in the short term and the long term.”