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It is official – 2013 has begun. As college and graduate students head into the New Year, they should take the time to evaluate their financial situation and start the year on solid footing.Now that 2012 is in the past, it is time to recognize some of your former financial mistakes and move forward with a solid budgeting plan. The key to making successful financial resolutions is to clearly define them. It is easy to say, “I will save more money in 2013.” However, it is even better if you have specific, concrete goals that you can strive to attain. You are a year wiser, what can be so hard?

Understand your responsibilities

To start 2013 the right way, Fox Business recommends five financial New Year’s resolutions from which every student can benefit. The first goal: understand the terms of your student loans. While the numbers initially may seem like another Mid Term Exam, you can never really grasp the gravity of what you owe unless you comprehend the specifics and terms of your loan and repayment conditions.

For example, some loan terms require a full class load or you may have to begin making payments immediately. If you are not familiar with your particular plan, you should go over federal and private loan clauses with someone you trust such as a parent or financial advisor. That way, the next time you contemplate a big purchase, you will understand the potential pitfalls of a luxury expense.


The second goal of 2013 should be to save. No matter how much or how little, get into a habit of setting aside a certain amount each month. If you find that you can easily succeed with your savings plan by March, try to gradually step-up the amount by 10 percent. To help save, experts recommend setting up an automatic deposit into a savings account so you are routinely saving a portion of your paycheck.

Have a back-up plan

Next, CREATE AN EMERGENCY FUND. Accidents happen, and you do not want to be set back in the event of an emergency. As you create concrete savings for the future, you should also establish a fund for the unexpected.

Build credit

The fourth goal is to build credit. If you want to purchase a car or home in the near future, you will need a good credit score. To do so, you should start by paying bills regularly and on time. It may help to set up an online bill payment system. If you do not pay your bills on time, you will rack up interest and fees as well as causing harm to your credit score.

If you are unsure of where you stand, you can always check your score online. You are entitled to one free credit report from the three major credit bureaus each year. For example, is a site established by the Federal Trade Commission to assist consumers in accessing their status.

Educate yourself

Finally, you should aim to learn more about finances in general. Strive to attain a basic understanding of investing, budgeting and financing. The more you know, the better your chances of making wise financial decisions.

Help is available

However, if you feel your current financial situation is beyond the point of repair, there are other options. For example, you may want to consider filing for personal bankruptcy as a method of debt relief. While student loans are generally not dischargeable in bankruptcy, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy can help alleviate other outstanding bills, such as credit card and other unsecured debts. This can help you focus on paying down what is important, such as a car or house note along with your educational loans.

If you need more information about debt relief in 2013, speak to a qualified bankruptcy law attorney. A lawyer can help you evaluate your finances and assist you on your journey to financial stability.

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