Another year is ahead of us – time for making New Year’s resolutions. Have you checked your finances lately? Do you have goals that you have yet to achieve? Many of us find that we need to change a few things in order to improve our lives.
No matter how big or small your New Year’s resolutions are, the important thing is that you’re thinking ahead and making a step towards a more secure future. When it comes to finances, here are our top suggestions:
- Review your net worth.
If you don’t know how much you spend, how much you need to pay off in terms of debt or how much you have in savings, then it’s time to sit down and evaluate. This allows you to figure out which parts of your finances need to be changed. By knowing your financial status you can determine how much more you need to save to improve your assets, and how much less you should spend to decrease your liabilities. Two online tools for calculating your net worth are Investopedia and CGI.
- Pay off debt.
Paying off what we owe is one of those New Year’s resolutions is always easier said than done. When paying off a loan or mortgage, there are two things to keep in mind: First, it has to be a realistic amount – something you can afford and still lets you live comfortably with your income. Second, it should be automated.
Credit card debt can be extremely difficult to pay off. Avoid getting lured into high interest rates. Most importantly, take the time to look at your credit report for possible errors.
- Stick to your budget.
Some people are good at sticking to their budgets, others are impulsive consumers. When creating a budget for the coming year, use tools that will help you track spending. You can use your smartphone to help you manage your money by downloading apps such as Mint or Left to Spend. Let your mobile device work for you.
Keep a mental note of how much you have in your checking account and stay within that limit. There’s nothing wrong with being frugal – in fact, it has been proven that in general, rich people live below their means.
- Invest in stocks.
If you’re one of the lucky ones who have the opportunity to create a savings account and still have plenty left, this year is a good time to look at investing. Many of us already invest in retirement plans such as 401(k) or educational funds. Others look into stock portfolios. Schwab.com recommends diversifying: “Mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are great ways to own a diversified basket of securities in just about any asset class.”
- Pre-plan for the future.
No list of New Year’s resolutions is complete without thinking about the future. No matter what your age is, it’s always a good idea to look ahead and think in terms of possibilities. Risks, accidents and other unexpected things are all part of life. Anything can happen at any given time. It’s always better to be ready than sorry.
Pre-planning is one of the best ways to begin the New Year. If you are already enrolled in insurance plans, you know what it means. A very small part of your income is set aside to protect yourself, your family, your property, etc. when something happens.
Many of us are not aware that by simply enrolling in funeral or cremation plans right now, we already are saving ourselves and families from these expenses when the time comes in the future. Pre-planning with Neptune Society, for example, lets you save money by locking in the rates today so that you’re protected from increasing costs years from now. It also gives you peace of mind knowing your family will not be burdened by confusing financial decisions in the future.
The beginning of another year should inspire us to be in better financial shape. If you would like to learn more about how pre-planning works, click here or visit a local Neptune Society office in your area.