Congratulations, you made it through 2018! Now we enter the time of year when everyone sets out to make new resolutions. Committing to eating less sweets, exercising more and making new friends are all great New Year’s resolutions, however, you may want to also think about your financial goals for 2019. To start the New Year off on the right foot, I recommend these five important resolutions for a more prosperous 2019.
- Coordinate Financial Assets
Are your finances similar to a junk drawer? You know that messy drawer where we tend to store small, miscellaneous, but useful items. Items with important purposes but are easy to lose track of. Well, finances are no different. With retirement accounts, bank accounts, legal documents, and hundreds of different financial products, it can be a challenge navigating your financial road map. With simplicity and asset coordination, you can get started in the right direction.
Tip: Take inventory of all retirement accounts, brokerage accounts, savings accounts, insurance-based products (annuities & life Insurance), pensions, legal documents, etc. Make one financial folder with tabs to separate the above listed assets. Include a recent statement, and previous year end statement inside each tab. File any contracts inside the relevant tab. Also, prepare a summary of assets outline and keep it saved in your computer files for backup.
- Establish Clear Goals
It’s extremely important to establish and evaluate your financial goals. Short term and long-term goals need to be monitored and assessed on a yearly basis. Your financial goals drive decisions such as portfolio allocation strategies, employment decisions and lifestyle changes.
Tip: Use SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely) goal setting to develop and monitor your financial goals. Maybe your goal is to pay off debt in 2019. If so, be specific on what kind of debt. Make sure that it is an attainable goal to be accomplished in the given time frame. Measure your success by developing a tracking schedule to keep you on pace.
- Track Your Spending Habits
One of the most important indicators to a sound financial future is understanding your spending habits. One of my favorite exercises is referred to as the “Starbucks Quiz.” If I asked you what the average American spends on coffee each year, what would you say? Well, according to a report from Acorns Money Matters, the answer is about $1,100. That’s right – more than $1,000 a year in coffee! Factoring in monthly compound interest on an annual rate of return of 5%, a typical coffee habit would cost you roughly $15,000 in 20 years. In my opinion, that’s a hefty coffee habit!
Tip: We can adjust spending habits by understanding the habit in the first place. Creating a spreadsheet to track miscellaneous spending habits such as coffee, convenience items and fast food can be extremely helpful.
- Evaluate Your Insurance Options
Making sure you have appropriate levels of insurance coverage is a good thing to evaluate on a regular basis. As you experience life events over time, your coverage needs may change. And, it’s always important to review your insurance documents and make sure you understand your current coverages.
Tip: Review your current health, disability, life and property/casualty insurance coverages. Make sure that you have enough coverage in place to protect any dependents. If you think you are paying too much in premiums, don’t be afraid to shop around for comparative quotes. Also, double check that your beneficiaries are up to date.
- Develop a Mindset for Growing Your Wealth
Growing your wealth can be both gratifying and nerve-wracking at the same time. Investing can lead to short-term headaches, but also long-term gratification. Saving money is the key to growing your wealth. Every bit of savings can help improve your wealth by taking advantage of the power of compound interest. Investing your savings is a great strategy to hedge against rising inflation.
Tip: Seek an accredited Financial Advisor affiliated with a wealth management firm who puts your interest in front of theirs. This is your future. You should work with someone who can help you determine your appropriate risk level, while developing customizable portfolios designed to help you reach your financial goals. Don’t be afraid to ask about investment management fees, mutual fund operating expenses, or any commissions that may be generated by working with such Advisor.
All resolutions take commitment and effort. Make 2019 the year you take control of your financial health – step by step, before another year passes you by.
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Post Written by: Kyle B. Beissel