In every new year, you have the chance to make financial resolutions with a challenge. The challenge is to maintain the resolutions at any cost, throughout the year. Some of us win the challenge, some don’t. But with a solid plan in place, you can easily stick to them, and you’ll be glad you did.
To ring the bell in the new year 2019, let us consider these 6 most important financial resolutions and how you can successfully maintain them.
- Prepare a proper budget and stick to it
The new year will be the best time to start a proper budget. With a solid budget, you can track your money each month and analyze how much money you need to meet your daily expenses. This may help you to fulfill all of your other financial resolutions.
You can use a spreadsheet to create a budget plan. However, you may also use Mint.com where you don’t have to log in manually and add your transaction. Mint pulls in all your financial data from your bank accounts, loans, and credit cards automatically. You can access it by using your smartphone or tablet anytime, from anywhere.
- Pay off your debts
Your total debts may include credit cards, utility bills, student loans, payday loans, car loans, medical debts, or mortgages. But most of us typically looking to pay off unsecured debts like credit card debt, utility bills, payday loans, medical debts, etc.
Getting rid of debts will be the most amazing thing in your life! A huge weight will be removed from your head once you pay them off. It’s very liberating and feels awesome when you have no debts and a mind-blowing credit score in your profile.
- Spend less money
In today’s world, technology made our life so easy that by using an smartphone app you can easily spend a lot to buy any commodity or book any service through online transactions. You can buy your clothes, shoes, and even order services like food or transportation by clicking a simple cell phone app. This is what you need to avoid on a first priority basis. If you can’t control your spending, then you won’t be able to save money, and also can’t pay off your debts.
You may use a trick to control your spending habit. If you want to buy something, don’t buy it immediately. Make a list in your smartphone and add the item you want to buy. Give yourself a 15 day window to think. If 15 days later you still need to buy the thing, buy it without fail. But if 15 days later you feel the opposite and do not want to spend money on that thing, remove the item from your list.
Overspending money is a bad habit and you must avoid it at any cost. Your should always try to develop good spending habits like buying only essential things for your home, always make a list before buying things, getting homemade meals instead of having lunch in an expensive hotel, etc.
- Start an emergency fund
As per the recent Bankrate survey, conducted this year, only 39% of Americans are able to pay an unexpected $1,000 expense by using their savings fund. Even worse, the Federal Reserve found the fact that 40% of Americans even can’t bear a $400 emergency expense.
Without having a proper emergency fund, most of the Americans are incurring debts while covering unexpected costs.
You need to take some immediate measures to stop this from happening with you. You should set up automatic transfers from your paychecks to your savings account every month. This way you can create a good emergency gradually, and you won’t be tempted to spend it rather than saving it.
Experts recommend we should save at least 6 months’ worth of expenses saved in emergency fund. So, consider slicing down your paycheck before you start spending, and list it as a new year financial resolution.
- Know and build your credit score
Do you check your credit score on a regular basis? No!! Then it is the first thing you list as a financial resolution.
Your credit score is an important financial factor which reflects your financial credibility to the lenders and creditors. By considering your credit score they’ll have an idea about how healthy your finances are. Good credit scores range from 700-749, and scores of 750 and higher are considered excellent.
You must also concentrate on building a healthy credit score. I know it’ll take time like all other good things in our life. You just have to follow some easy steps on the path to good credit, like paying your bills on time and full, use your credit as low as possible, pay off your old debts as soon as possible, etc.
- Work on your retirement savings
Saving for retirement is one of the most important financial goals that has to be taken care off seriously. For that reason, as a financial resolution you must also consider saving for retirement as soon as possible. So, you may follow these tips to build a decent retirement savings for your older days.
a. Initiate your 401(k) plan – Invest a % of your pretax income directly into your employee-sponsored 401(k) plan. Most companies may also contribute the same amount from their end.
b. Open or fund an individual retirement account (IRA) – If you don’t have access to an employee-sponsored plan, you may then opt for an IRA. It has similar tax benefits like a 401(k). The IRS have increased the contribution limits for IRAs and 401(k)s for the 2019 tax year, and also raised the income phaseout ranges for IRAs.
c. Opt for a Roth IRA or Roth 401(k) – You may not get immediate tax benefit in a Roth IRA or Roth 401(k). But you may become eligible for a tax-free income in retirement.
I think starting 2019 with these financial resolution will be enough for now. Start working on these financial aspects, you’ll gradually find out more things that you need to take care of. Keep your cool and work wisely.