With the new year comes many of us seeking to improve our lives. This usually means health and finances. I am not going to talk about health here, but am going to give you some guidance for preparing yourself for the new year financially. What steps can you take that will have a significant impact on your finances in the year and the years that follow? Keep reading to find out.
Financial Moves To Make For The New Year
There are plenty of moves you can make financially that will help you improve your finances. I am going to touch on some of the easiest ones that have a great impact. The goal is that by getting the ball rolling with a few financial moves, you will be motivated and excited to keep pushing ahead and thus improving your finances even more. Here are the moves to focus on first:
Contributing or Increasing 401k Contributions: If you aren’t putting money into your 401k plan at work, you need to start. I know that $20 every paycheck doesn’t seem like much, but it adds up. I remember putting that much into my account every paycheck and how excited I was want I hit $100 and then $500 and then $1,000. Trust me, over time, it adds up.
And starting the process is easy: just reach out to human resources as work. In most cases, you fill out a form and email it back to them. As for the investments to choose from, try to find the one that invests in large cap stocks and charges the lowest expense. The key here is to just get started. Once you do this, you can research your options some more and diversify your holdings.
If you are already contributing to your 401k plan, then increase it. Even a measly 1% adds up over time. If you can consistently add 1% each year, you will be well on your way to having a comfortable nest egg for retirement.
And for those that are not covered by a 410k plan, then open up an IRA and set up an automatic transfer at one of the many online brokers. The entire process shouldn’t take more than an hour.
Save For The Holidays: Many people go into debt when buying for the holidays. Then they spend the next year paying off the debt, only to be in debt again the following holiday. Break this cycle. Keep all of the receipts of gifts you buy and enter them into an excel spreadsheet. Once you have bought everything, total the number up and divide by 11.
Now, set up an automatic transfer for that amount each month. This ensures you have enough come December to buy gifts for everyone. If you find you cannot save that much each month, then save as much of it as you can. The less debt you get into for the holidays, the better off you will be.
Budget: Setting up a budget can take some time, so I am not asking you to go that far, however you should eventually. What I want you to do is stop saving what is left at the end of the month and start saving first. When you get paid, transfer some money to a savings or investment account immediately. If you never see the money in your checking account, you will never miss it.
It doesn’t have to be a lot, just $50 or $100 works to get started. Doing this guarantees you save money. Saving what is left at the end of the month is a guarantee to not save anything since so many of us have nothing at the end of the month to save.
Be A Better Employee: Walk into your managers office and ask if there are any tasks they dislike doing and offer to do those tasks for them. This will mean a lot to them as you are showing initiative and are making yourself more valuable to the company. As times goes on, you can offer to take on more work or help out on various projects. While this won’t pay off immediately it will allow you to enjoy a larger raise or give you examples of why you deserve a larger raise. And if you don’t get a raise, it gives you one more thing to add to your resume to show potential new employers how valuable you are.
These are just a couple of quick things you can do to set yourself up financially to get ahead in the coming years. All of these points will take you less than an hour to do (and most will be less than 15 minutes) but will pay off tremendously in the years to come. So take the initiative with these and start down the path to a better life. Chances are, once you get started with them, you will want to keep improving in other areas of your life as well.