Among other things, the recent blight of terrorism around the world (and in our own backyard) makes me think about just how lucky I am. As we’ve seen lately, so much can be taken away so quickly that we have to be grateful and make use of every day we have. Agreed?
That’s why now is the perfect time to revisit our goals, see what’s worked and what has not, and get super focused on moving forward to make next year even more productive.
Lets consider your financial life. When considering goals for next year, think about adopting a financial goal or goals that will be able to help you both short-term and long-term. Keeping your finances intact or getting them back on track are keys to building a healthy and happy future for yourself.
With tax refunds pending and employment bonuses hopefully on the way, here are five financial resolutions for financial success in 2016 and beyond:
Debt Consolidation for Credit Cards
Instead of trying to keep track of multiple bills, a personal loan might make sense. If you go this route, it can help you consolidate your debts and possibly put you back on the track to being debt-free. By consolidating your debt into a personal loan, you could be left with only one manageable payment for the next two to five years. It might save you hundreds while giving you peace of mind and a payment that will never increase.
When looking into debt consolidation, it’s important to make sure that there are no pre-payment penalties, hidden fees, or variable rates. Most lenders also allow you to check your rate without affecting your credit (soft inquiry). Obviously, only go this route if the new rate is lower.
Credit Report Diagnosis
When was the last time you checked your credit report? Are you aware that you could have inaccuracies on your credit report that may be impacting your financial health? Grab a copy of your credit report at AnnualCreditReport and examine it to make sure that there are no reporting errors. Doing this won’t impact your credit score as the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and Transunion) each allow one free credit report a year. If everything is accurate, you can take the next appropriate step in rebuilding your credit by either paying down debt, paying off accounts in collections, or applying for a secured credit card.
Knock Out High Interest Rate Accounts First
If you have credit card debt looming over your head, priority number one should be paying off high interest rate accounts first. Take the time to sit down, look over your statements, and figure out which accounts have the highest rates. If you need help creating a plan to tackle your worrying debts, try using ReadyForZero, one of many tools out there that can help you create a payment plan that works for you.
Take a Another Look at Your Monthly Budget
Now is a great time to make sure that you are contributing enough to your emergency savings fund. A quick exercise to help with this is to take your last 3 months of bank statements and figure out where your money is really going. How much are you spending on dining out? Coffee? Leisure? By doing this, it will allow you to easily identify any areas where you can cut costs. A salary increase or promotion is fantastic but it doesn’t mean that you have to increase your expenses, you can increase your savings instead!
Revisit Your Investment Portfolios
The market has experienced both ups and down during 2015. The turn of the New Year is the perfect time to revisit your portfolio and make sure it’s set up to meet and hopefully exceed your financial goals. Questions to ask yourself when revisiting your portfolio include: Has my risk tolerance changed in the past 12 months? Has my need for liquidity increased or decreased? Am I contributing the maximum amount to my 401k? You should ask yourself these questions and more while re-evaluating your portfolio heading into 2016.
2015 is just about done. You may not have accomplished everything you set out to but that’s no problem. Nobody does. Regardless, do a thorough assessment of what went well and what needs more attention and then hammer out a solid plan to make next year even more productive and then hit the ground running.
What went right for you this year? What are you going to do differently this coming year?