One of the most rewarding opportunities that we face from one year to the next is the chance to create new habits that will benefit our lives. Yes, I am talking about making New Year’s resolutions! It is a temptation that few of us resist if you believe the research. It is purported that as many as 140 million Americans will make at least one New Year’s Resolution this year.
An area that many people want to improve is their financial health. If you count yourself among this group, then consider vowing to follow one or more of the following fiscal suggestions:
- Make a detailed budget. Begin by tabulating your income and outgoing expenses. Do not overlook your tendency to stop for a morning coffee or weekly dinners out. Those are outlays that can add up more quickly than you realize. Now, align your numbers according to the ‘50/30/20’ rule whereby 50% of your income is used for necessities, 30% for discretionary items and 20% to savings. If you can stick to this formula you will be in the black and have a fiscal cushion before you know it!
- If you have never dipped your toe in the investing waters, this is the year for you! There are many opportunities to grow your money by putting it into stocks, bonds, annuities, real estate and more. This would come out of your discretionary funds and it would challenge you to become savvier about your finances. If you want to get smarter about making your money work for you – then you have to put in the work of learning how! Knowledge is a powerful tool!
- Understand credit and your credit score. Take a long, hard look at your credit history. It is the key to any financing you may want to undertake such as buying a home or car. While a quarter of Americans have a low score, it is possible to improve it through corrective measures. It will take time, but the outcome is worth the effort.
- Look for supplementary income. Unfortunately, 2020 saw many people lose their jobs and livelihood. But that is not a reason to give up! Be versatile and resilient. Remember the saying that when one door closes another one opens – and set about to make things happen for yourself. Take stock of your talents, skills and interests and examine how they can be used to improve your financial position. Also look at schools and coursework that might provide a marketable skill set that will get you back in the job market.