Happy New Year! The new year brings us new beginnings and a time to make resolutions and set goals. We tell our friends and family what we will do this year that is different from last year.
Roughly 55 percent of New Year’s resolutions were health-related, such as exercising more, eating healthier and getting out of financial debt, according to the science journal The Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. I can’t help you keep your fitness goals, but I can help you with your financial ones.
1. Create a budget. This can be done simply by writing it on paper or using an Excel spreadsheet to track your spending. Work with your spouse, partner or a friend to keep you on your spending goals. Nothing is set in stone. If you need to make adjustments, do them as early as possible. It is a great time to update your savings goal. Look at what and where you’re spending. Is there anything that’s duplicated? Can you be saving more in your retirement plan at work? Is it time to cut the cord on cable or a phone?
2. Set up an automatic monthly savings or investment plan. Similar to a 401(k) or other retirement plans offered through an employer, do it yourself. Review your budget and see where you can utilize your savings. If you systematically invest, your savings can add up quickly and painlessly. If you invest $100 away every month for the next 10 years, with a 4% return, you’ll average a balance of $14,724.98.
3. Review your will. Meet with your attorney to make sure all of your legal documents are up to date. If anything needs to be changed, it’s a lot easier to do when you’re not in crisis mode. If you haven’t had a will written, find an attorney you’re comfortable with. Take this opportunity to have a discussion with other family members about their wishes. As the saying goes, Just Do It!
4. Review your mortgage. Check your rate. Is it advantageous to re-finance? Call your lender to understand your options. You may be able to reduce your monthly payment, without extending your term.
5. Review your current plan with an advisor. This is where a lot of people get nervous. We are all human and can’t always do what we plan. Discussing your goals and objectives with your advisor will help you make more informed decisions going forward. In planning, there are many twists and turns that will happen. If we all had a crystal ball, it would be much easier.
Miri Upton, CRPC, CRPS, is an independent financial adviser with Synergia Financial Group, LLC in Ramsey.
Securities offered through Securities America, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC and advisory services offered through Securities America Advisors, Inc., Miri Upton, Representative. Synergia Financial Group, LLC and Securities America are unaffiliated. Securities America and its representatives do not provide tax or legal advice. Please consult with your tax or legal advisor regarding your particular situation.