Four Steps for a Fresh Financial Start to 2018
The New Year is a time when many people resolve to lose weight or spend more time with family but it’s also a good time to start planning your finances for the year ahead. Below you will find four steps for a fresh financial start to 2018:
1. Set Goals for the Year
The first step to planning your finances for 2018 is to set your goals for the year. This could be a large goal like purchasing a new home or maybe 2018 is the year you plan to retire. Or it could be a smaller goal like taking a trip or purchasing a new vehicle. Start by writing your goals for the year down – make sure they are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely. For example, instead of “I’d like to go on a trip in 2018” try “Save $5,000 total for a one week, all-inclusive trip to Mexico in November by putting $455 into my savings account each month.” Don’t forget to measure your progress periodically throughout the year to make sure you stay on track.
2. Review your Spending in 2017
The best way to help you budget for 2018 is to review your spending in 2017. Did you save as much as you planned or have you increased your debt? Maybe it’s time to cancel that subscription service that you pay $100 a month for and never use. By reviewing what you spent this year, you can see what you would have done differently and implement that into your financial plan for 2018.
3. Review your Insurance Policies
Individuals and business owners often review their life circumstances when initially purchasing insurance policies, however they may not understand the importance of periodically reviewing it or reassessing their needs. It is important to review your insurance policies on an annual basis to incorporate lifestyle changes and economic events. An annual insurance review is something that can go a long way to protecting you and your family.
4. Separate Savings from Investments
Many people don’t understand the difference between savings and investments. According to Smart About Money, saving is setting aside money you don’t spend now for emergencies or for a future purchase. Whereas investing is purchasing assets such as stocks, bonds, alternative investments or real estate with the expectation that your investment will make money.
When building your plan for a fresh financial start to 2018 make sure to separate your savings from your investments. Deciding where to put money will depend on your goal(s) and your risk tolerance.
If these four steps for a fresh financial start to 2018 seem too overwhelming to accomplish on your own, we can schedule an annual review to go over your financial plan with you. This is an opportunity for us to reassess your financial situation together and make sure you are ready for 2018!