Ten financial new year’s resolutions that are easy to keep
Now that the bills from Christmas are coming due (unless you planned a low-cost holiday season this year), you’re probably thinking about some new year’s resolutions. Many of us make resolutions for our health – lose 10 pounds by March, dry January after the holiday excess – but we’re here to offer you some resolutions for your wealth.
Start a budget
A budget is the simplest and most effective tool to keep track of your financial well-being. It shows you the big picture of your finances – what’s working and what’s not.
Pay off one credit card in full
If credit card debt is the monkey on your back, commit to paying off one credit card in full. Ideally, the one with the highest interest rate. At the very least, make more than the minimum payment each month. This allows you to pay down the principal, not just the interest. And just think – once that one card is paid off, you can start paying off any others.
Do not open any more credit cards
While it is tempting to use credit, especially with rewards points and cashback programs available with many of these cards, we suggest not using credit as often as possible. It is far easier to stay on budget and out of debt when you pay cash for anything depreciating in value.
Automate your TFSA and RRSP contributions
If you don’t already have automatic withdrawals set up from your bank account for your TFSA and RRSP savings, start today. When they’re automated, you won’t overlook or backburner the contributions.
Expand your financial knowledge
Learning more about money management, debt, credit, budgeting, and retirement is one of the best investments you can make for yourself. The more you know, the better equipped you are to make smart financial decisions.
Start an emergency fund
It’s hard to plan for the unexpected, but emergencies will happen, especially if you own a car or a home that will inevitably require repairs. Set aside at least 6 months’ worth of living expenses in case of an unexpected bill or job loss. These savings can be the difference between weathering the storm and getting caught in the undertow.
Commit to “no-spend” days
One or two “no-spend” days per week, where you don’t spend any money at all, can help show you how much of your spending is habit and how much is necessary. Make coffee and meals at home and don’t make any online purchases or visit any stores. You’d be surprised how quickly impulse spending adds up.
Engage with your finances
That budget you created isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it tool. Set aside one or two hours each week to review your finances. Review your spending, pay any outstanding bills, and make sure you’re on track with your financial goals.
Plan for the future
As soon as you have assets, whether that’s a home, rental property, investments, or a car, you should consider drafting a will. An up-to-date will ensures that your wishes are carried out on your death. If you’ve been avoiding putting a will in place or updating your current will and beneficiary designations, now is a perfect time.
Make an appointment with your advisor.
The new year is a great time to talk about your financial goals for the year. Maybe you want to buy a home in 2023, or maybe 2023 is the year you plan to retire, or maybe you’re sending your eldest to university this year. Whatever your goal, big or small, your advisor can help create a plan to help you crush your new year’s resolutions.