How to Get 2023 Off to a Strong Money Start
The holiday season brings so many wonderful things – time with loved ones, heartfelt traditions, and lots of merriment and warm wishes. Unfortunately, it can also bring increased expenses and money strain, which can lead to stress and worry and ultimately hurt both our financial and our mental health. If this sounds familiar, consider making financial well-being part of your New Year’s resolutions! The start of the new year is the perfect time to take stock of your finances and make a money roadmap for the coming year. Here are a few steps to get you started!
Think about where you want to go
It’s hard to draw a map if you haven’t identified your destination. Spend some time thinking about your financial goals, both for the coming 12 months and for the longer term. Do you want to save up for a dream vacation this summer? Is growing a college fund or retirement account your top priority? Are you looking to purchase a home or learn how to invest more effectively? When you have a clear understanding of what you’re working toward, you can better prioritize how to use your money and make more informed decisions about financial planning.
Review your current location
Another critical step in drawing a clear map is knowing where you’re starting from. It may not be the most exciting way to kick off the new year but reviewing your current finances will help you make a strong start on your new financial resolutions. Assess your monthly income, monthly expenses, current debt, credit score, and investments like retirement accounts and stocks. By understanding your financial status more accurately, you’ll be better able to respond to economic shifts like high inflation and you’ll know exactly how much you have available to allocate to your longer-term financial goals.
Draw up a plan
Now that you know where you’re starting from and where you want to end up, it’s time to pick your route! The best way to get started here is to create a budget to track your expenditures and determine how much to put toward paying down debt or adding to your savings or investments. Luckily there are a lot of tools out there to help with this! From simple Excel spreadsheets to budget apps like Mint, writing down your monthly budget can help hold you accountable and ensure you stick to your resolutions. Your route to your long-term financial goals could also include upping the amount you invest each month or the amount you contribute to your employer retirement plans.
Identify your big mile markers
One of the best ways to stay motivated when working toward a longer-term goal is to identify important milestones to mark your progress. These could include things like paying off a certain amount of your debt, raising your credit score by 50 points, stashing away six months of living expenses in your emergency fund, or reaching 50% of what you need for a big purchase like a vacation or a car. Pay attention when you hit these milestones and celebrate them!
Don’t travel alone!
Finally, remember that the best trips are taken with someone by your side! There is a plethora of financial planning tools out there, and Workplace Solutions offers a range of financial solutions, including educational resources and personal sessions with qualified financial advisors. You can also reach out to tax professionals and investment advisors to help you on your way to financial well-being.
Financial wellness and mental wellness go hand in hand, so resolve to take care of both this new year!