Every year about this time, many of us begin to list everything that we would like to accomplish over the next year. These “New Year’s resolutions” are intended to help us focus our attention on making our lives better through a lifestyle change. The truth about making an exhaustive list, is that we rarely accomplish everything that we wanted.
I’m a firm believer in living everyday as it it’s my last and “biting off more than I can chew”. However, I also understand that the accomplishment of these lofty goals will not happen overnight. I believe this philosophy is well suited to explain the challenges in keeping resolutions concerning money and finance.
Making major financial lifestyle changes, such as sticking to a budget or savings more money, is easier said than done. As with any change in behavior, you will need personal discipline and commitment in-order to stick with your goal long-term.
In light of these ideas, I propose the following resolutions for anyone wanting to improve their financial situation over the next year.
Begin to Study Financial Planning
Before making a large change in your life, its wise to learn everything you can about that subject. This not only makes the transition easier, but it will also give you the confidence you need to push through the challenging times.
Financial planning is a multi-disciplined subject that is part art and part science. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of personal finance books at your local bookstore. In addition you will also be able to easily find free financial planning information online either on blogs or eBooks.
Define How You Want to Live Your Life
More often that not, when we make our financial resolutions they are not in sync with our long term goals and objectives. This is mainly due to the fact that the first step in the financial planning process has been skipped.
The first step in the financial planning process is the development of goals and objectives. This is a critical step in the financial planning process as we must decide where we are going before we determine how we are going to get there. So make it a priority next year to truly define what’s important to you and your preferred lifestyle.
Increase Your Retirement Plan Contributions
If I was only allowed to recommend one financial resolution, it would be to leverage the advantages of an employer’s retirement plan. This is due to the fact that many people that are eligible for these employer benefits are not taking full advantage. This is just leaving money on the table.
Contributing to an retirement plan has a few distinct advantages. First, retirement plan contributions are usually tax advantageous. Second, many employers match contributions to a certain threshold. Finally, its a easy and automated way to save more money in the new year.
Many New Year’s resolutions concern personal finance and financial planning. Make sure you set yourself for success in the new year with these financial planning resolutions.