Hello once more to everyone, and Happy New Year! It is with the new year in mind that sparked my post today. As with the beginning of every new year, there comes resolution setting across the country. This goes hand in hand with January being Financial Wellness month, which is a great time to take a closer look at your financial wellbeing and plan for financial success in the year ahead. I felt that discussing money goals for the year would be a great way to start off 2022!
Before I get into some of the major money goals that I typically come across, I wanted to take a minute and speak to goals in general. Goals are great and very easy to set, what is hard is achieving what you set out to accomplish. In running my business here at Barnum, over the years I have been given great advice on numerous occasions, but one that has helped me the most was about setting goals and ways to increase the likelihood of achieving them. That advice was to not only set a goal, but to also come up with a detailed action plan to achieve it. Make it a point to write it down as well. Once something is written and kept in a place where you know you will see it regularly, you start to hold yourself more accountable to succeeding.
Now that I’ve spoken about a way to help increase the likelihood of achieving your goals, let’s talk money! Here are some of the biggest New Year goals set by people from across the country:
- Increasing retirement contributions
- Creating a budget, and sticking to it
- Learning more about investments and the different types of them
- Figuring out how you are invested and what that means
- Getting ready for major life events - retirement, marriage, children, grandchildren, and college
- Getting taxes done early
- Charitable giving
- Creating, maintaining, or replenishing an emergency fund
- Reviewing insurance products to make sure they still fit your family’s needs
- Getting a financial plan
These are just a few of the big goals.
I thought I would pick a few of the money goals I mentioned and give some tips on ways to help make these big goals more achievable for you.
Increasing retirement contributions
Everyone wants to be able to retire when and how they want. Increasing your retirement contributions on an annual basis can help make that a reality. One way to make this goal simple is to set a rule to increase your contribution to a retirement account by 1% per year. This will make a massive difference in the long run to your overall pool of money and is a modest change in the short term. By just increasing by 1% you will almost certainly not see a difference in your lifestyle at home but will help get to retirement much faster. Before you know it, you will be maxing out your contribution to your retirement account and then need to find somewhere else to continue to save! Another way to do this, possibly if there isn’t as much time until retirement, would be to take whatever raise you got for the year and put that towards your retirement account. If you get a 3% raise, increase your contribution by 3%. Your lifestyle would be the same as the year before, and your retirement would be that much closer!
Create and stick to a budget
Everyone hates doing a budget, but it is extremely important to understand where your money is going on a regular basis. The new year is a great time to look back at what happened over the past year to get an idea of your spending. The first thing you can do in creating one is to identify all the major categories of spending you have. Go back over the last year and fill in the monthly cost for each category (if you would like a pre-made budget, please feel free to let me know and I can get one to you). Once you do this for all your expenses, go back and identify areas where you spent more than you would have liked. These areas are places that could end up being areas for you to save more money for yourself. Once you do that, create a second ideal budget reflecting the changes you want to happen. I would call this the ideal budget. Start with one of the changes you identify. Once you are comfortable with that new lesser outlay, move on to the next. This is important to not make a huge dramatic change to your lifestyle all at once. If you tried all the changes at the same time, you are more likely to revert to old habits!
Review insurance products to make sure they fit family’s needs
The insurance world is an ever-changing place. Products change, your needs change, pricing change, making this very important to revisit on a regular basis. Hopefully you have all your insurances filed away in a safe place and readily available for review. It is highly suggested to have an annual insurance audit of your existing policies. In order to do this efficiently, you should work with your insurance professional, or reach out to me, to make sure that the policies you have are still the best for protecting your family. No one ever likes to talk about insurance, but it is one of the most critical components of any financial planning!
I only touched a few of the major goals I listed but am always happy to discuss any of others I listed, or any other money goals you might have. I’m always here to help! Thank you again for taking some time to read this and come back soon for more helpful insights! Happy New Year again, and I hope you nail all your 2022 resolutions!