‘Tis the season for resolving to do better. If you blew the budget this holiday season, or if you’re just hoping for a fresh start in 2022, consider these five tips to focus on finance in the new year.
A solid budget is the foundation of a financial plan. And it doesn’t have to be a pain. The key is to do what works for you. Like to make lists? Start there. Spreadsheet guru? Fantastic. Want to automate it? There are plenty of websites that will help you see where your money is going. Once you know what’s coming in and what’s going out, you can start to make changes to align with your savings goals.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, so don’t expect to master all things finance overnight. There are plenty of online tools and resources designed to help you budget, plan, and save for your future. If you’re ready to take the next step, a financial professional can help talk you through the best options for you.
Did grandma ever tell you to save for a rainy day? She wasn’t wrong. Many experts agree that having a 3-6 month emergency fund can make a huge difference in financial independence. That might sound like a big number, so it’s ok to start small. Now that you know where you’re spending money (see how great that budget is?) you should be able to make decisions about where you need to spend vs. save.
For many of us, debt is inevitable. But it’s important to have a plan to keep debt from taking over. There are different philosophies for paying down debt (paying the highest interest first, snowballing payments,) but it’s important that you have a plan that works for you. And once you have your handy dandy budget, you’ll have a better idea of how much you can allocate to paying down debts. A friendly reminder – just because you’re paying down debt doesn’t mean you should neglect your future self and savings. Many experts recommend taking a balanced approach to managing debt while saving.
Nobody has ever reached retirement and complained about having too much money saved (at least, nobody we’ve talked to.)
As part of your overall savings plan, you may want to consider investing in a retirement account (like an IRA, 401(k) or 403(b)), a college savings account, or a brokerage account to participate in the market. Of course, there can be risks associated with investing. Consider speaking to a financial professional to help set a plan that works for you.
The term financial professional is not intended to imply engagement in an advisory business in which compensation is not related to sales. Financial professionals that are insurance licensed will be paid a commission on the sale of an insurance product.
Neither North American, nor any financial professionals acting on its behalf, should be viewed as providing legal, tax or investment advice. Please rely on your own qualified tax professional.