New Year’s Resolutions for Your Finances

Are you planning to improve any aspects of your financial life for the new year? Do yourself a favor and pick no more than a few things to focus on at the start. Additionally, make them very specific and achievable. Don’t set yourself up for failure! Once you’ve identified your financial resolutions, physically write them down and put them up in a place you’ll see them daily – maybe the bathroom mirror or fridge. Pull in an accountability partner too, if you really want to see yourself follow through.

Looking for some ideas to get the wheels spinning?

Get a True Handle on Spending

It’s hard to know what you can do, if you’re not totally sure about what you have to work with. Most people can easily say what they bring in, but have a harder time nailing down exactly what goes out. And if one of your other resolutions is to increase savings, this is where it all starts! There’s a slew of helpful apps out there that essentially do this for you, or you can always take up the old-fashioned method of reviewing bank and credit card statements at the end of each month. In the process, you may even discover “forgotten” expenses or more easily identify opportunities for reducing expenses.

Pick Expenses to Reduce or Eliminate

For some things, this can really be done rather easily. Sure, it might involve a sacrifice, but it’s doable. Maybe this means brewing coffee at home instead of stopping by Starbucks. Packing a lunch and cooking at home more, in general, can go a long way. You might consider free alternatives to the gym or pricey workout classes. These are only ideas and there are plenty more opportunities. Whatever it ends up being, see if you can find even one expense to reduce or eliminate.

Boost Your Emergency Fund

Face Debt Reduction Head On

Do you have the ability to put extra money towards credit card payments or other liabilities? If so, this is a sure way to save on interest costs over the long run. Analyze any debt load and determine the best strategy for paying them down.

Automate, Automate, Automate!

Do this for contributions to your savings account. Do this for credit cards or other debt payments. Do this for any personal retirement or investment accounts you may have outside of your employer. Do this to take the thinking out of the process and increase the chances you reach your goals. Do this!

Increase Retirement Savings

Get a Free Credit Report

Not only is it helpful to know your credit score, but there might also be corrections needed on your report that could result in a higher number if addressed. Everyone is able to get one free report a year from each of these 3 agencies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Once you’ve checked your score and reviewed the report for any possible corrections, identify strategies to build your score up.

Review Insurances & Think About Re-Shopping

Your need for various coverages is likely to change as the years go by. Be sure that what you have in place reflects that. Insurances such as auto and homeowners are good to re-shop on a regular basis as well. If you haven’t done this in a few years, you might be able to find savings for appropriate coverage with another carrier.

Double Check All Beneficiaries

This is one of those elements that often gets overlooked. Make sure the beneficiaries listed on any accounts or policies are consistent with your current wishes. If you don’t already have any listed, consider adding a secondary beneficiary(ies).

Organize Your Financial Documents

Build a Professional Team

If you’ve gotten to the point of needing or wanting advice around your financial planning, take the step to recruit your team. In a perfect world, this would consist of a financial planner, tax advisor, and attorney. Be careful to ensure each one is a good fit for you and expect each professional to be willing to work together with your best interest in mind.

Financial planning is an organic journey and getting to your ideal place takes time. Don’t get discouraged when it doesn’t happen overnight and take the time to recognize any progress made in just one year. Commit to one or some of these ideas above and reflect on any achievements 12 months from now.

Edward F. Jurgielewicz III

President

SMRU #: 1881648