January 6, 2018
New year, new you! It is the saying we hear a lot this time of year. What kind of real change can you make this time of year that will benefit you for the rest of the year and beyond? That's right, financial change. Check out our top ten tips for a better financial year!
- Assess Where You Are - Setting financial goals is important, but before you get to that step you first need to acknowledge where you are right now. Look through all of your finances: savings, debts, investments, etc. Assessing your current financial status may be stressful, but learning more about it will give you the knowledge you need to set realistic goals.
- Know What You Want - Have a clear and concise goal of where you want to be this year. Don't make it as vague as saying "I want to save more money". Have specific numerical goals of you want. Try writing a financial resolution that is clear and actionable like "I will have the balance on my store credit cards reduced to zero, no less than $3,000 in savings, and a fully funded IRA."
- Set A Budget And Stick With It - The absolute best thing you can do for your financial situation is to set a budget. The harder part can be sticking to it. Make sure your budget goals are achievable. Make sure you include all of your expenses including housing, utilities, and food.
- Pay Off Your Debts - Debt can be a heavy burden to bear and can make it hard to gain clear sight of your financial goals. Commit to paying off your debts now, and you'll have more money to invest in the future.
- Stay Organized - Setting goals is the easy part, but it is easy to give up if you do not have a plan to stay on track. There are many budgeting tools available right in the palm of your hand in the form of budgeting apps. The more organized you are, the better.
- Establish an Emergency Fund - Unforeseen emergencies can break your budget. You can plan ahead by setting aside a small bit of money every chance possible. Some experts suggest that your fund should be able to cover 2-3 months of expenses, but any money you have set aside is better than nothing. Start small and keep that fund growing.
- Collect Your Change - Any time you pay for things with cash, only think about spending in whole dollar amounts. If you go to the store and pay $57.27 and you pay with $60 cash, pocket the change and put it in a storage container you keep near the door at home. This is your grown-up piggy bank.
- Read a Financial Book - If you want to learn to fix a car, you read a book. If you want to learn to cook, you read a cook book. Why would finance be any different? Do some research and see what financial books line up with your personal goals and read it.
- Open an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) - Open an IRA and start making contributions to it. You should talk with your financial advisor. Preparing for retirement is one of the most important financial decisions of your life.
- Start Small and Don't Get Discouraged - Always remember that financial planning can be hard: the kids get sick, new bills arise, you have to make a large purchase. These can all discourage you from continuing on your financial wellness path. You have to overcome these obstacles and adjust accordingly. Even if you can only save $50 this month instead of $200, make sure you still do it
Good luck on your financial journey!