As the big ball drops and we clink our champagne glasses, we think about all the possibilities the new year will bring. With a fresh calendar, it’s time to self-reflect and overhaul our habits for the year. Some people want to live healthier lives, get better jobs, improve their relationships or educate themselves. Financial health is one of the top areas many people want to improve when they are making New Year’s Resolutions. Here are some tips for improving your financial outlook (and making your resolution stick).
This year, instead of making New Year’s resolutions, make short- and long-term goals for yourself. These goals should be SMART goals — specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. It’s socially acceptable to stick to lofty, nebulous New Year’s resolutions for the short-term, but when you set concrete goals for yourself (and measure your progress), you’re more likely to implement long-term changes.
Examine your long-term financial picture – There are many aspects to financial planning besides just saving for retirement. Many people tend to overlook estate planning as part of their overall financial plan. Contemplating your mortality isn’t exactly a sunny way to spend a weekend, after all. But estate planning is critical to your family and it’s best that you do it now so that your family is set if something awful does happen. Make a will, organize your investments and assets, name your executors and beneficiaries and map out your end-of-life arrangements. Map out your retirement plan and college savings for your children and set up your life insurance, if you haven’t already.
Change the way you think about money. Financial literacy is the key to financial health. They don’t teach you how to budget, save for retirement or plan your estate in school. Since money can be a taboo topic, people don’t want to ask questions. The only way to learn something is to ask for the information. There are many financial courses and seminars that can help you learn all about how to be financially fit. Change your mindset when it comes to spending. Instead of treating yourself unchecked, set aside money in your budget for small splurges and put the rest of your money toward your bills and long-term goals, like building up your savings, investing, paying down debt and putting money aside for retirement. Don’t put unnecessary purchases on credit, and work on eliminating credit card debt. When you’ve got goals in mind that you’re measuring routinely, you’re more likely to stick to your plan.
Working with a financial planner can help you educate yourself about finances, make SMART financial goals for yourself and ensure you’re staying on track. Don’t make just another resolution. Make a real change in your financial future.
Linden Oak Wealth Partners offers fee-only financial advising customized for women, in particular, women in transition. Our goal is to create an environment where financial planning is efficient, simplified and easy to understand. We want clients to feel empowered and engaged every step of the way. Please contact us to schedule an initial consultation today.
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