The new year has begun. You survived the holidays and now you’re ready to take on the year (or something like that). But before getting started, it can help to take a few minutes to review your money situation and make a plan. So here we go, 5 money-related tips to start 2018 off right.
1.) Look back and assess
As the new year starts, it’s a good time to see where your money actually went the past year. What were your spending habits? Can you cut stuff? As your needs change, it helps to re-evaluate your expenses. Are there any ongoing monthly costs you can chop? Is there a gym membership you’re not using? Any random subscriptions you can nix?
It’s also a good time to look at your fixed expenses. Try to find a better rate on your car insurance, or if you have credit card debt, consider consolidating it to a card with a lower interest rate. You can even call your cable provider to ask for better deals. Trimming down unnecessary costs is a great way to lighten the load. (Source)
2.) Cash Goals
How much money do you want to have saved by end of this year? There’s a bunch of studies that show how bad Americans are at saving, in fact, a recent one from the Federal Reserve drew a lot of attention with this statistic: 44% of Americans surveyed do not have enough money saved to cover a $400 emergency.
How much can you set aside this year? Whether you’re saving for an emergency fund or something else, now can be a good time to make a plan.
3.) Rebalancing your investments
Take a close look at your portfolio. After the stock market surge of 2017, you may need to rebalance. Over time, some of your assets may rise or fall in value, causing the percentages of your investments to change. That includes your retirement plans as well as your taxable investments. Rebalancing every now and then helps align your investments with your goals. It’s also a risk-minimizing strategy. (Source)
4.) Get a will, or update the one you have
If you do have a will or if it’s outdated, it can turn into a big hassle down the road. Your assets can get passed to various parties under state law, and often those outcomes aren’t what you had in mind. Consider creating or updating your will can help you avoid all that. You can also create a trust which gives you further control over the future of your assets. At the start of the new year, now is a good time to review all of the above so you can be sure there are no loose ends. (Source)
5.) Non-financial goals are important too
Forget finances for a minute, what do you want to accomplish in terms of personal ambitions before 2017 is over?
- Do you want to start a side business?
- Is there a hobby you’d like to take on?
- Want to adjust your work-life balance?
- Want to work out more?
Consider mapping out a rough plan. Don’t go crazy, just give yourself a mini goal that’s doable.
Getting organized now is a good way to help you feel more on top of your game. It doesn’t take long, and can help as you enter 2018.