2018 is here upon us, and for many people it seems too late to make a New Year’s resolution at this point. Hold your horses, though; it’s still early in the year, and if you haven’t thought about where you’re going this year, now is still a great time to get started. Everyone wants to get their finances in order, and live a more fiscally-free lifestyle, and that’s a great place to start.
It all starts with you thinking about where you are, and then making the deals with yourself that it takes to get where you want to go. Check out these financial resolutions for 2018, to help you get the new year started off on the right foot, and to end it in better financial shape than ever.
Financial Resolutions: Start by Gathering Data
The first step in your financial resolutions is to gather your data together so you can take good stock of where you are financially. Look at your income, your monthly expenses, the assets you hold, any insurance and retirement accounts. Check into your liabilities, your taxes, and any estate plan you have.
As you examine these, look for holes and gaps that need to be plugged. Do you have enough insurance to cover your spouse and kids if you pass away suddenly, for example?
Set Your Goals
As you review your data, this will give you a solid sense of where you stand. Now write down what you want to accomplish in the long term. Is it to have a million in your retirement account by the time you retire? Is it getting debt free within ten years?
This is where the resolutions begin. Now, break those big goals into smaller, achievable benchmarks. What will it take to get debt free within ten years? How much can you afford to put away each month? Make a promise to yourself, in writing, to make that happen. That’s your first resolution.
Be Tax Efficient
In the end, what you manage to keep matters more than what you earn. This goes for savings as well as your regular salary and income. If you’re trying to keep as much as possible, talk to a financial pro and figure out the most tax efficient ways to save, and to withdraw or borrow money from retirement accounts, health savings accounts, and other savings. The more you can legally avoid taxes, the better off you’ll be in a financial sense.
Engage in Risk Management
Insurance is essential to every aspect of your financial life. There’s a saying that it’s the one service you pay for and hope never to use, and it’s true. It’s also vital. Make sure you have the right insurance in the right amounts for things like disability, accidental death, life insurance, and your assets.
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