Have You Been Financially Naughty or Nice This Year?
CFP Board Consumer Advocate shares the “Santa Claus Audit,” a guide to evaluating your 2014 financial behavior
If Kris Kringle judged consumers by their financial fitness, who would end up on his “Naughty” and “Nice” lists? This year, consumers can review the jolly ole man’s checklist themselves and determine where they stand, courtesy of Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards (CFP Board) and the Santa Claus Audit, a list of personal finance do’s and don’ts to consider this holiday season.
“Landing on the ‘Naughty’ list can lead to worse outcomes than a lump of coal in the stocking – less savings, higher debt and paying more taxes, to name a few,” says CFP Board Consumer Advocate Eleanor Blayney, CFP®. “As 2014 comes to an end, it’s the perfect time for consumers to reflect on the state of their finances and prepare for 2015.”
In the Santa Claus Audit, Blayney shares the “nice” steps consumers need to take and the “naughty” behaviors to avoid to ensure they always make Santa’s “Nice” list.
Be prepared to land on the “Naughty” list if you:
- Increase outstanding credit card balances over the year
- Dip into emergency reserves for a non-emergency expenditure
- Don’t request or review free annual credit reports
- Don’t contribute to an employer’s 401(k) plan
- Borrow from a retirement plan to cover living expenses
Get Santa’s cookies and milk ready; you’ve made the “Nice” list if you:
- Always shop with a list
- Prepare a budget every year that guides and governs spending
- Save for retirement through qualified retirement plans, as well as taxable saving or investment accounts
- Review the beneficiaries of your retirement, life insurance and annuities plans
- Speak with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional