5 Easy Tasks That Should Have Been Part of Your 2019 Resolutions
Most New Year’s resolutions are busted by now. There are a million reasons why the ambition of late December drains so hastily with the turn of the calendar. Maybe people really don’t have time to spend an hour at the gym every day and lay out calculated meals seven days in advance. Perhaps a child got sick or the goal set wasn’t that important. No matter, these year-long promises have probably been broken already by now.
No different are many financial goals. Life happens. What if instead of overhauling a lifestyle, slashing the budget, and forcing habits, New Year’s resolutions started smaller? Commit to just a handful of action items able to be tackled in an afternoon and give your financial life a push-up, without breaking a sweat:
1. Increase contribution to employer plan by 2% every year.
Many plans allow for an automatic 1% annual increase. While that is a great idea, you may think it won’t have much of an effect. Take two minutes to log in this year, and double that percent increase. After your next paycheck, you won’t even notice the change in take-home pay and you’ll be able to save much more. Not to mention you set the bar higher for when you repeat this next year!
2. Give yourself half a raise.
You work hard and deserve to enjoy the fruits of your labor – but put some in the fridge for later. If a promotion comes your way that comes with a 10% raise, treat it like 5% and send the other half straight to savings or your investment portfolio. You are still increasing your salary but also providing for tomorrow.
3. Get your [balance] sheet together.
An annual review of your assets and liabilities can be a great low effort homework assignment. A lot of small things can fall through the cracks – a $300 purchase with 0% financing (which has since expired!) or a small 401k plan with your old employer collecting dust somewhere. Putting together a complete list of your assets and liabilities will allow you to stay organized and track your net worth over time.
4. Review your accounts from a different perspective.
Check on the profile information and the account details. Make sure your address, email, beneficiary, and other details are up to date. Is your phone number with the bank still your childhood land line? Might want to clean that up. Is your Health Savings Account above the threshold to start investing? Put it to work for you.
5. Write it all down.
As you complete your review, create instructions that will be easy for your spouse, child, or close friend to follow if something were to happen to you – or if you need a reminder of what to do next year. Obviously, keep this information very secure.
Conquer these quick tasks a couple times each year at most, and you’ll see some serious gains on your financial fitness. Year after year, raise after raise, you’ll feel like you have more control, more confidence, and more money- because you will! Your BDF Team is here to help.
Josh focuses on provided Advanced Planning solutions for unique and complex situations. He sits on the firm’s Financial Planning Committee, responsible for educating the BDF team to ensure each client benefits from customized proactive advice. He studied at Aurora University, earning degrees in Accounting and Business & Commerce. Josh is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional.