I am running a few index-card pieces for Vox. The first one ran on New Year’s Day. It offers some useful New Year’s suggestions. In true web-marketing fashion, I will simply say Number 7 will amaze you…..

New Year’s is a useful time to consider large and small ways we can improve our lives. We can be more generous to the people around us and improve our physical and mental health. We can also take small steps to put our financial houses in order.

Of course, your overall finances depend on your income and prior wealth, and on big-ticket items such as your housing, student loans, and car. Still, a succession of smart decisions helps you stay on a methodical path. Most of us can save a little more, and a little smarter, than we currently do.

This stuff really isn’t rocket science. Yet financial planning is easy to screw up or avoid — either because it’s boring or because it’s intimidating. Few hard deadlines force you to pay attention, so it’s easy to put things off.

As you contemplate the financial hangover from the holiday season, this is a great time to align your everyday personal decisions with your long-term financial goals. Below are a few suggestions that may help in the coming year.

More here.

[Cross-posted at The Reality-Based Community]

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Harold Pollack is the Helen Ross Professor at the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago.