As we settle into this new year, you may be asking yourself, "How am I going to make this year different? What can I do to improve this year?" Or, you may have already broken your resolution. No need to worry, we are giving you a second chance! When we think about goals, there are a lot of different categories come to mind. You may have physical goals to lose weight or educational goals to read more books. Wherever your priorities fall, financial planning at the start of the year is a must.
A lot of people make money resolutions. According to a study in the University of Scranton’s Journal of Clinical Psychology, the most popular resolution every year is to lose weight, followed by getting organized, and saving more money. It’s good to see a finance-related resolution in the top three. But setting goals is one thing, sticking to them is another. Some folks don’t bother making a New Year’s resolution because it seems futile. Indeed, few of us are able to keep to what we resolve each year. According to the study, only 46 percent of resolution makers keep their pledge through the first six weeks of the year. This doesn’t have to be the case. There is every reason to make 2019 your year to accomplish what you set out to do. This year, why not resolve to make your finances a priority? With just a few hours of planning, you can start to get your financial house in order. Here are some steps to take:
Get your family involved to help you follow through. You can also share your resolution with others, and have someone keep you accountable. Work with your advisor to create a budget and save a specific amount each month. At the end of each month, check in with your advisor to make sure you’re on track, and to share your accomplishment. And celebrate the milestone with your spouse.
Retrieve all of your important documents that tell you how 2018 went—and read them. Find all of your pertinent financial statements, including retirement and investment account statements, homeowner’s insurance, wills, and bank statements so you can access them quickly. Then:
- • Review your 2018 goals if you had any
- • Read your financial statements
- • Understand why you either missed, met, or exceeded your goals
START WITH A BUDGET
The centerpiece of a financial resolution is to create a budget for the entire year. This isn’t as daunting as it sounds. Decide with your partner and family members what the big expenses will be for 2019. Will you need to buy a new car? Take a vacation? Fix the roof or replace the air conditioner? By planning ahead and setting aside money in advance, these expenses won’t hit your wallet as hard as they would if there were no plan. A family budget is a great learning opportunity for kids, as well.
Don’t allow mistakes you made in the last 12 months to affect your goals for the coming year. Allow yourself to mentally wipe the slate clean. Use previous stumbling blocks as your new goals for 2019. Perhaps you had trouble with credit card debt, didn’t save as much as you needed for college, or put off replacing the roof on your house. Address those challenges in your New Year’s plan. Create a timeline for paying off debt, arrange an automatic monthly transfer into your 529 account, or create a list of home repairs you need to address.
WRITE IT DOWN
Don’t forget to write down what you want to achieve and place it somewhere you will see it each day—on your bathroom mirror, your refrigerator, or in your office. Without regular reminders of your goals, you’ll find it much harder to attain them.
Above all, don't forget that we are here to help. Whether you want to consolidate your debt or create a financial plan, we are here for you. To contact our office, you can call (916) 297-6394 or send an email to email@example.com
This year, resolve to make your finances a priority.
The views expressed here reflect the views of Brian Peardon. These views may change as market or other conditions change. Actual investments or investment decisions made by Cambridge Investment Research and its affiliates, whether for its own account or on behalf of clients, will not necessarily reflect the views expressed. This information is not intended to provide investment advice and does not account for individual investor circumstances. Investment decisions should always be made based on an investor's specific financial needs, objectives, goals, time horizon and risk tolerance. Past performance does not guarantee future results and no forecast should be considered a guarantee either. Moody's Corporation is the holding company that owns both Moody's Investor Services, which rates fixed income debt securities and Moody's Analytics, which provides software and research for economic analysis and risk management. Securities offered through registered Representatives of Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a broker-dealer, member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc., a registered Investment Adviser. 401k Engineers and Cambridge are not affiliated. CA Insurance Lic. #0E44645