Ready to get 2020 going the right way? Here are 5 goals that you should set for yourself to get those finances in order.
1. Set Up An Emergency Savings
Would you be financially sound in an emergency? What would happen to you if you became disabled or suddenly lost your job? If you are unsure about the answers to these two questions, you probably need an emergency savings.
Far too few people in America have an emergency savings or any savings to fall back on. It can make life stressful and is a big reason that the payday loan industry is thriving. Often when people need as little as 700 dollars right away, they do not have it. It forces them to take emergency loans, which can be quite costly.
Make it a goal this year to establish an emergency savings. Your ultimate goal should be to have 6 months of expenses in that account. If you are starting from scratch, it can seem like a lofty goal but take it step by step and you can get there.
The first step is opening a separate online savings account. You might have a savings already that is from the same bank as your regular checking, but this is too accessible. It allows for instant transfers which can leave you open to impulse buying. An online account is still accessible but transfers take about 24 hours in most cases. This gives you time to think about purchases and cool down.
Once you have your savings set up, simply set up an automatic transfer for the day you get paid. Ideally, you want to be saving 10 to 20 percent of your take home pay but if you need to start small, do so. Even $25 from a paycheck will add up over time. If you get paid every two weeks, that is $650 dollars in a year, not including interest.
2. Start Saving 10 Percent
If you just read the first tip, you know that you should be saving at least 10 percent of your take home pay. Since most people live check to check, this can be hard to do. If you want to have financial security though, it is an absolute must.
If you find yourself unable to save at least 10 percent currently, you need to make it a goal to start doing that in 2020. This means increasing your income or readjusting your budget.
The easiest thing to do would be to make more money and you have a couple ways to do that. If you are just working a 40 hour a week job, pick up a side gig. Drive for Uber, pick up a shift at a local Walmart, etc. For most people, there is no reason that you can not work more than 40 hours a week.
If your job is a bit more demanding of your time and your income has grown stagnant, perhaps it is time to move on. You can not count on your employer increasing your wages these days. If you want to get ahead, you have to change companies because companies save the big money for attracting new clients. Dust off the resume, put out some feelers and contact a recruiter.
The other way to start saving properly is to adjust your budget. If you do not have at least 10 percent going to savings, your budget is wrong. Set a new one and put savings away first. Then divide the rest of your money into your other expenses.
This might mean making cuts and some changes, but it is necessary. You might have to cut your entertainment budget, shop for a cheaper car or even move to a more affordable home. It might take big changes to get your budget where it needs to be. The result will be well worth it though.
3. Set A Long Term Goal
Do you know where you want to be in 10 years, 20 years or even 30? If not, you need to give it some serious thought so that you can plan for it. You can not reach your goals if you do not know what they are.
Take some time to sit down and think what you want to do in retirement. Keep it reasonable of course. If you are 40 and haven’t saved a penny, you are probably not going to retire on your own private island. Having said that, there are still some great ways to accumulate wealth quickly through smart investing.
A Roth IRA, for example can help you save quickly and as you get older, your ability to contribute increases. If in doubt, seek the help of a financial planner that can get you on the right track.
4. Invest In Yourself
When was the last time you made it a point to make yourself better? If you are like most, it has probably been some time.
There are literally hundreds of ways to invest in yourself this year. Start an exercise regimen, join a gym, learn another language or perhaps start investing in a better wardrobe.
On the professional side of things, why not get some more education. You are never too old to benefit from some extra training. Get a certificate, learn a computer program or even go after an advanced degree. Not only will these things make you feel better about yourself, they can also make you more money.
After spending some time investing in yourself, you might just finally get the nerve to look for a more meaningful or more profitable position.
5. Shave $200 Off Your Budget
Even if you have your budget right and are saving enough money, there is always room for improvement.
Make it a goal to shave an additional 200 dollars off of your expenses. If you are already running a pretty tight ship, this might mean making a bunch of smaller cuts that can add up.
Shopping for new car insurance, for example, might save you $30 a month. Refinancing your car could get you another $30. Sit down and take a look at your budget and see where improvements can be made.
It might not seem like a lot, but that 200 dollars a month is over 2000 dollars in a year and that is before interest or returns from investments.