As the new year approaches, it’s natural to reflect on the past year and plan for the future. Many people focus on their finances, and setting financial goals can be a great way to improve your financial health and build a solid foundation for your future.
This year, rather than making resolutions, I suggest making new year’s “intentions!” New year’s intentions are a positive and proactive way to approach goal setting and self-improvement. Unlike resolutions, which tend to be negative and focus on what you should stop doing or avoid, intentions are positive and focus on what you want to do or achieve. By setting intentions, you are taking control of your life and setting the stage for a successful and fulfilling year.
Additionally, intentions are more flexible and forgiving than resolutions, which can be strict and easy to break. This means you are more likely to stick to your intentions and achieve your goals. As a result, setting intentions is a more effective and sustainable way to make positive changes in your life.
Here are some financial intentions to consider as you plan for the new year!
CREATE A BUDGET
One of the most important things you can do to improve your financial health is to create a budget. A budget can help you track your spending and make sure you’re not overspending in any one area. Creating a budget may seem daunting, but many resources are available to help you get started. Writers on this blog have provided many helpful tips when it comes to budgeting!
SAVE FOR EMERGENCIES
No one likes to think about unexpected expenses, but they can happen to anyone at any time. Just the other day, my dryer broke! An emergency fund can help you avoid debt if you face a sudden expense, such as a car repair or medical bill. Try to save at least three to six months’ worth of living expenses in an emergency fund. Knowing you’ve got a nice lump of money set aside is a huge stress reliever.
PAY OFF DEBT AND REFINANCE YOUR LOANS
If you’re carrying high-interest debt, such as credit card balances, it’s essential to pay them off as quickly as possible. Consider setting up a debt repayment plan and making regular payments to reduce your balances and save on interest charges. If you have high-interest loans, consider refinancing them in the new year to save money on interest.
INVEST IN YOUR FUTURE
Whether saving for retirement, a down payment on a home, or your child’s education, investing in your future can help you build wealth and achieve your financial goals. Consider talking to a financial advisor to help determine the best investment strategies for your situation.
IMPROVE YOUR CREDIT SCORE
Your credit score can impact many aspects of your financial life, from the interest rates you’re offered on loans to your ability to rent an apartment or get a job. If you have a low credit score, improve it by paying your bills on time, reducing your balances, and not applying for new credit unnecessarily.
PROTECT YOUR ASSETS
Protect the things you’ve worked hard to accumulate, such as your home, car, and other valuable possessions. Consider purchasing insurance to protect against unexpected events like fire or natural disasters.
If you already have insurance, ensure you have the right coverage to protect yourself and your loved ones. This can include health insurance, life insurance, homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, and even pet insurance. Review your current policies and make any necessary changes in the new year!
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CURB IMPULSE PURCHASES
Impulse purchases can add up quickly and derail your budget and financial goals. Make a new year’s intention to reduce possible impulse purchases by thinking before you buy and setting a budget for discretionary spending.
Speaking of impulse purchases, it’s easy to lose track of where your money is going, but being more mindful of your spending can help you save money and reach your financial goals. Try tracking your expenses for a month to see where you can cut back!
PLAN FOR RETIREMENT
If you haven’t already done so, it’s important to start planning for retirement as soon as possible. This may involve setting up a retirement savings account, such as a 401(k) or IRA, and making regular contributions. If your employer offers a match to what you contribute, that’s essentially free money! Consider talking to a financial advisor to help determine the best retirement savings plan for your situation.
One of the keys to improving your financial health is to educate yourself about money and how it works. Consider reading books, attending workshops, listening to podcasts, or talking to financial professionals to learn more about investing, saving, and budgeting. The more financially literate you are, the more comfortable you’ll be making financial decisions that will impact your future. Given that you’re reading this blog, you’ve already taken a significant step toward ensuring a secure financial future!
SEEK FINANCIAL ADVICE
Financial advice can be invaluable for achieving your financial goals, as it can provide guidance and support to help you make intelligent financial decisions. Make it a goal in the new year to seek financial advice, whether it’s from a financial planner, a financial coach, or a trusted friend or family member.
START A SIDE HUSTLE
If you’re looking for ways to earn extra money, consider starting a side hustle in the new year. Whether freelancing, selling products online, or doing odd jobs for neighbors and friends, a side hustle can help you bring in extra income. Plus, sometimes a side hustle can lead to a rewarding new career path!
GET YOUR FINANCIAL DOCUMENTS IN ORDER
Make it a goal to get your financial documents in order in the new year. This can include organizing your bills (I keep the past few months’ worth), updating your will, and making sure you have copies of essential documents like your birth certificate and Social Security card should you need to prove your identity. I like to keep my important documents in a safe and secure location and audit them regularly. A fireproof lock box is a great place!
BE KIND TO YOURSELF
Lastly, being kind to yourself is vital as you work towards your financial goals. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you make mistakes or don’t achieve your goals immediately. If you beat yourself up over it, you’re unlikely to stick to your goals over the long term. Remember that improving your financial health is a journey that takes time.
Making financial intentions is a great way to kick off the new year and start working towards your financial goals. By setting realistic goals, creating a plan, and seeking advice, you can take control of your finances and set yourself up for a successful and financially secure year.
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