Finally, 2021 at last! Just like every January, we all sit down and make our New Year’s resolutions. This year’s probably still look different than you might have thought. However, it is important to set your goals and pursue them. Just make sure they are realistic. For example, you can still have traveling on your list, but instead of leaving the U.S. and flying to Greece, you might drive to Maine as an alternative.
As you set your 2021 resolutions, look at all areas of your life, including financially driven goals. Now is a great time to do so as January is Financial Wellness Month.
Here are five areas to consider as you review the financial aspects of your life:
1. Determine your goals. What do you want to accomplish? Pay off your credit card bill? Have enough money to travel more? Establish a retirement fund? Contribute more to your children’s/grandchildren’s college funds? Decide what is the most important to you based on timing, your income and your age.
2. Develop a budget. Look at your income, bills, mortgage, monthly groceries, etc. Are you spending more than you make? Are you saving for retirement? Do you have a “rainy day” fund? If the past year has taught us anything, we must expect for the unexpected. We all learned that we need to be better prepared. Based on the goals you created in Step #1, can you reach them with your budget?
3. Review other areas where you spend money. Do you actually watch all of the streaming services or cable channels you subscribe to? Is there another credit card company with a lower monthly rate or better rewards? Do you use all the services and data you pay for on your credit card bill? Start reviewing these extra bills and services we too often set up and then never think about again.
4. Meet with a financial planner. If you already have one, set up a check in with them and share your financial goals, so they know where you are headed. If you do not have one, ask a friend or relative who they use. (They will most likely say, “Sterling Financial Management.”) Make it a priority to set up an appointment to establish that retirement fund and/or college fund you decided on in Step #1.
5. Look at other necessities you always put off. Do you have life insurance? An estate plan? A will or trust? Power of attorney?
Once you compose your plan, look at it every quarter to see what you have accomplished so far and what you can check off your list. While, we cannot help you decide on your travel plans for the year, we can help you meet your financial goals. This year is full of possibilities and a perfect time to start fresh!