It’s that time again: the start of the new year. This means that many of us will be making new year’s resolutions—whether it’s eating healthier, staying in touch with friends and family, or quitting smoking.
You’ve probably made a few of these resolutions. But have you thought about your financial new year’s resolutions?
The new year is the perfect time to reconsider your financial health and make sure that your wealth isn’t causing regrets. Here are a few resolutions to consider, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal:
- Take a second (or first) look at your budget. Hopefully, you already have a budget. If you do, now is the time to take a second look and make sure that your expenses and income and continuing to match the budget that you initially created for your family. If you don’t have a budget, it’s time to make one. Create a list of your expected expenses (mortgage, food, gas, utilities, entertainment, etc.) and expected income. Cut out unnecessary spending where you can.
- Pay down your debts. If you have debt from a mortgage, student loans, credit cards, or a car loan that is keeping you up at night, consider how you can pay it off as quickly as possible. Pay off the debt with the highest interest rate first (or the debt that you are most concerned about).
- Create your estate plan. I urge you not to wait to create an effective estate plan that protects you and your family. You just never know when you’ll pass, and you need to be prepared for the sake of your loved ones. Make sure that you talk with an estate planning attorney and a financial advisor to build a plan that suits you. You will likely want to create a will, a trust, and powers of attorney.
- Start or update your retirement plan. Retirement planning is not a set-it-and-forget-it type of preparation. As you get older, your risk tolerance goes down, and you should up your savings. With people living longer and Social Security covering only a pittance of what you’ll need, retirement planning is essential.
- Review your investment portfolio. Like retirement planning, investment planning requires regular supervision. Talk with your financial advisor to make sure that your portfolio still accurately reflects your goals, risk tolerance, and age.
- Boost your emergency savings. Will your rainy day fund prepare you for a downpour? Too few people have enough savings to tide them over in the event of disaster, whether it’s a job loss or a business going under. This year, make saving a priority.
What are your resolutions this year? Will you adopt any of the financial resolutions above?