Top 10 Financial Resolutions For 2014
Last week we talked about the proper way to set New Year’s resolutions and reach your goals. Using those tips, here are the top 10 financial resolutions to transform your finances for 2014!
1) Re-evaluate where you are now financially. This involves checking your budget and net worth statement. Your budget is an ongoing cash flow statement where you track and assign every dollar that comes in and goes out. This will help you spend wisely and not overspend. Reassess your budget for 2014. Your net worth statement is a snapshot of your assets (what you own) and liabilities (what you owe). To download examples, please visit artofthinkingsmart.com.
2) Re-evaluate where you want to go financially. This involves recommitting to your financial goals. Use the SMARTER goal method to set your financial end-state.
3) Re-evaluate how you will get there. Now that you know where you currently are and where you want to go financially, it is important to set a “process” and “system” on how to get there. This involves setting a financial plan. Visit artofthinkings-mart.com to download sample financial plans and templates. The resolutions below can help you get there.
4) Get out of debt. Use the debt-snowball method or high-interest payment method to help you pay down your debt. Visit artofthinkingsmart .com for more details.
5) Save for retirement and invest. If your employer matches contributions to your 401(k), don’t give up the free money! If you haven’t done so already, start up an individual retirement account (IRA) or max out your current one. Talk to a financial professional if you need help in setting up an investment strategy.
6) Set up an emergency savings fund. The amount depends on your profession and needs, but one rule of thumb is to save three to four months’ worth of expenses. If there is an unexpected job loss or expenses, you have a cushion to help you get back on your feet.
7) Automate bill payments! If you are hit with late charges, you are just throwing money away. Set up an auto-pay for your credit cards and other bills so they are paid automatically. You also can receive text or email reminders when bills are due.
8) Improve your credit score. Your credit score is one of your most important financial numbers. It takes time to build a good score, but little things such as lowering your credit utilization ratio, making payments on time, keeping your credit history open, and keeping a good mix of revolving and fixed credit payments will help you raise it.
9) Cut costs and look for deals. For things you have to spend money on, look for coupons or daily deal sites. Remember not to buy something just because it’s on sale. You want to get a deal and discount on things you need to buy so you can cut costs.
10) Get a raise or find new sources of income! Work at a level pay grade higher than you currently are. When employers look for people to promote or give pay raises, they can see that you deserve it since you have separated yourself in accomplishments and work ethic. If possible, also look for additional income through consulting, free-lancing, house-, baby- or dog-sitting, or selling items online.