It’s Time for Your Annual Financial Checkup

By A. Scott Anderson

President and CEO, Zions Bank

As 2017 begins, I want to wish every friend and client of Zions Bank a happy and prosperous New Year. It’s an opportunity for a fresh start, a time to consider goals and priorities, and to take stock of personal and family finances.

Zions Bank has always encouraged our clients, neighbors and friends to use sound financial management practices in their businesses and personal lives, and especially to use credit carefully and wisely. We’ve supported many programs to help people eliminate debt and put their financial houses in order.

Sometimes I’m asked why a bank encourages frugality and sponsors programs to help people get out of debt — considering that a bank makes money when customers borrow and pay interest.

The answer is very simple. We care about our clients and want them to be self-reliant and prosperous. Moreover, a bank is successful over the long term when we have a strong economy with businesses, individuals and families that are financially secure and resilient. We earn revenue when businesses and individuals are making wise purchases and investments, borrowing within their means, saving prudently and contributing to a rising economy that benefits everyone.

A shaky economy with too many families and businesses facing financial difficulties does not provide a firm foundation on which to build any enterprise, including a bank.

All of us can protect our financial conditions by conducting an annual checkup. Our circumstances change from year to year, so adjustments are often needed. Do we have a good budget plan? It’s important to list assets, debt and liabilities, income and expenditures, and to project future needs. That sounds like a lot of work, but plenty of excellent online budgeting tools exist, including some that interface with your bank account and day-to-day bookkeeping.

The Zions Bank Personal Financial Center (pfc.zionsbank.com) and Learning Center (www.zionsbank.com/learning-center/end.jsp) can help you learn how to increase savings, eliminate debt and build wealth. Information about Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University that helps people get control of their finances, can be found at www.zionsbank.com/learning-center/fpu.jsp.

Protecting yourself from fraud is also critically important. Zions has developed an Online Security Center to provide information and tips to help customers prevent fraud and theft. You can access it at www.zionsbank.com/learning-center/security-center.jsp. The crooks behind cybercrime never take a day off. You must be ever-vigilant to protect your security.

It’s never too early to start planning and saving for retirement. Young people who start saving in their 20s will have a much easier time accumulating funds for a happy and secure retirement than those who wait until their 40s and 50s. A young person who consistently saves and invests even a modest amount can literally retire a millionaire. Also, it’s important to take maximum advantage of any employer-matching 401(k) investment programs.

For those who didn’t start young, it’s even more important to develop a retirement plan. A Zions Bank wealth management professional can help.

I hope you will get to know your local banker and take advantage of the many tools, products and experts Zions Bank has available. Your banker can help you achieve your financial goals. The new year can truly be happy as you work toward greater financial security.