2018 is coming to a close and what an amazing year its been!
The market has given us a wild ride (hang in there – we’re in it for the long game!), the business has been growing, and I have been fortunate to meet some of my goals for the year. Notice I said “some” - because for every goal I crushed, one eluded me. But, hey, progress not perfection.
A few of the goals I set for myself were reading at least 6 books - √. Save 10% of our income - half a √; we did that for the last 6 months of the year. Give up dairy - √. Get over my fear of public speaking - nope; I am still working on that one.
This time of year is perfect for us to revisit our goals or resolutions and see how we did. This is especially important when it comes to our financial goals because investing in ourselves now can reduce stress, improve lifestyle and get us on the path to the Empire we desire.
Make sure your finances are on track for 2019 with these strategies:
Check your 2018 spending habits: Take inventory of what you spent and where you spent it. Are there any obvious red flags? Understanding your spending habits is critical to getting on track for the new year.
Create your budget and savings goals: After checking your spending habits and calculating your essential expenses, allocate a set amount to savings. A great way to do this is by following the 50/20/30 rule. 50% of your income goes to fixed expenses, such as housing and living expenses. 20% goes to financial priorities, such as savings and retirement. The other 30% is everything else!
Savings: Savings is a healthy habit! Divvy up that 20% of savings into your savings account, emergency fund and 401(k). Automation is the best way to ensure that you keep up with savings. Out of sight, out of mind.
Reduce your debt: We can all relate to over indulging during the holidays (and it’s not just on food!). We may have overspent, but now is the time to reel it in and course correct for the new year. Always pay more than the minimum and pay off those higher interest cards first!
Use the Money in Your Flexible Spending Account (FSA): A flexible spending account is a special tax-free account in which you can contribute money that will pay for services that your health care coverage doesn’t cover. Be sure to check with your benefits rep to find out the deadline for using the money in this account so that it doesn't go unused. Most plans allow you to roll-over a portion of the money left at year-end.
Don't Forget to Take Your Required Minimum Distribution (RMD): Beginning in the year you turn 70 1/2, the IRS requires that you withdraw at least a minimum amount from your retirement account annually. I like this calculator from Bankrate to calculate minimum distributions, but be sure to consult your accountant or financial advisor for your exact number.
Organize and discard: Go through your documents and separate what you need from what you can discard. Tax time is around the corner so start a folder with all the pertinent docs needed for your appointment. Throw away any old bills, bank and credit card statements, but don’t forget to shred them. Identity theft is REAL! The process of cleaning up creates an organized space and clear mind.
A great way to stay on track is by setting realistic goals we can aspire to over the course of the year. If we make our resolutions too broad, we will have trouble following through. Take those big, audacious goals and break them down into digestible bites. For instance, if you want to save more money, give yourself a number on a monthly basis, rather than just saying “I want to save more this year”.
And remember whatever goal you set out to achieve , the one common denominator is the focus on forming a habit. Healthy habits are a foundational element in any successful financial plan.
To gear up for your 2019 journey access our Powerful Guided Meditation
And Financial Habit Assessment here.
Have a wonderful Christmas and Blessed 2019!
Val & Dani
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