Getting physically fit and losing weight is a common New Year’s resolution for many Oregonians, but how making one to get financially fit?


A new survey from Wells Fargo of adults in Oregon found that 61 percent feel they are either in good or great shape physically, but fewer than half reported being financially healthy.


The online survey conducted late last year of 300 adults in Oregon age 25 to 75 found that only 36 percent feel they are in good or great financial shape to retire comfortably, and only 41 percent said they have enough savings set aside for emergencies.


“In addition to working off those holiday pounds, many Oregonians could benefit by taking control of their financial health,” said Chris Cline, Senior Regional Fiduciary Manager with Wells Fargo Private Bank in Portland.


“Our survey showed that two of the biggest obstacles to getting financially fit are not knowing the best approach, and sticking to a savings plan,” Cline said. “With that in mind, we have several tips to help people get started.”


7 Tips to Financial Fitness


  1. Create Your Plan — Create a financial plan by determining, setting and following your goals. Talk to your banker or financial advisor about how to create one, or check out for advice.
  2. Budget Your Money — Create a budget of your monthly income and expenses and stick to it. Speak to your banker or check your bank’s web site for advice and tools about how to track spending and monitor your progress toward your savings goals.


  1. Review Expenses — Review your expenses monthly and reduce unnecessary ones. Repeat the process monthly and cut back where you can.


  1. Start Saving — No matter your age, now is the time to start saving for your retirement. Take advantage of any retirement savings plan your employer offers. Plans like 401(k), 403(b), or 457 plans are simple and convenient. The money is automatically withdrawn from your paycheck, allowing you to save, not spend.


  1. Understand Credit — Whether you’re considering purchasing a home or a new car, ask your banker about what lenders look for when reviewing a loan application (“the 5 C’s of credit”). Find out how to improve your credit score to increase your chances of borrowing money at an affordable interest rate.


  1. Consult a Financial Advisor — Discuss any long term goals with a professional financial advisor, who can help build an investment plan to meet your goals. At your first meeting, ask about her or his credentials and affiliations, the services offered, and their fees.


  1. Pay Down Debt — Have credit card debt? Pay at least the minimum payment for every credit card, and put any extra available funds toward the credit card balance with the highest interest rate.


“Hitting the gym in January is a great way to start getting physically fit. Visiting your banker or financial advisor is a great first step to getting fiscally fit,” Cline said.