People often treat the arrival of a new year as a chance to make positive changes in their life. As wealth management expert D. Paterson Cope explains, the beginning of a new year is the perfect time to get your financial house in order.
Starting early and implementing a few simple steps now could pay huge dividends for you all year long. Here are some of the financial moves you can take at the start of the new year.
Set Financial Goals
People use the new year to set goals for themselves. When doing this, don’t forget about your financial goals.
A goal without a plan, though, is simply a dream. Once you have come up with your goals, then it’s time to put together a plan that will help you achieve them. When you create written goals and roadmaps to reach them at the beginning of the year, you can constantly refer back to them as time goes on.
Create a Budget
If you don’t already have a budget, now is a great time to create one. A budget can help you get a clear picture of where you are now so that you can make whatever adjustments you need to get where you want to be.
When you create a budget at the start of the year, you’ll be allowing yourself time to plan for things such as vacations, birthday and holiday gifts, and unforeseen situations. It’ll also help you realize if you’re spending too much money on any one thing, allowing you to re-allocate money to other areas such as retirement savings.
If you already have a budget set up, the new year is the time to update it. Go over your budget with a fine-tooth comb and make sure that everything you entered is still accurate.
Edit Where You Can
Most people have at least some wasteful spending in their budget. Monthly subscriptions to streaming services, gyms, and magazines you no longer use are an opportunity to save money.
You can also prune your budget by consolidating a few credit cards and sticking to the ones that offer the best package of low-interest rates and best rewards. Re-assess the financial institutions where you keep your savings and see if there are any that offer better interest rates or bonuses for signing up.
You can also shop around for auto and home insurance to see if you can save some money there, too.
Update Your Will
No one likes to think about their will for obvious reasons. But it’s an essential part of financial housekeeping.
As D. Paterson Cope explains, a lot can happen in a year that would cause you to want to make changes to your will. A new baby could be born. A loved one could be lost. A new job could be found, or financial success could happen.
All of these things might result in you wanting to update your will so that everything is according to your wishes. If you don’t have a will, the new year is a great time to get started.
About D. Paterson Cope
D. Paterson Cope, CFP® is the founder and CEO of Cope Private Wealth, a financial planning and wealth management firm specializing in assisting retirees and people who are about to retire. D. Paterson Cope has been providing financial advice for more than 30 years. He first earned the designation of Certified Financial Planner (CFP) in 1997. When he isn’t working, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Jennifer Miree Cope, and the rest of his family in Mountain Brook.