Improve Your Financial Well-Being: Start a Resolution Revolution!
It’s that time again – time to reflect on the past, look ahead to the future, and resolve to eat better, exercise daily, and generally improve every aspect of your life during the coming year. Sound familiar? Why not try a different approach this year? Choose one resolution and make it happen. Resolving to improve your financial well-being may help you take control and improve the quality of your life in many ways.
Take a look back at this past year. Did most of your money go to meet day-to-day expenses, unexpected car and home repairs, and lots of random purchases? How much did you put toward your financial goals? If you’re like lots of people, short-term expenses often take priority over long-term goals. However, if you don’t take steps to change your habits now, you may never reach your financial goals.
Step 1: Identify
Stop and think about what you want for your future. Do you want to buy a house, send your children to college, travel the world? Think about your current finances. Do you have an emergency fund? Are you paying off your debt? Start the year by identifying your top financial objectives and ranking them in order of importance.
Step 2: Focus
Next, realize that you probably will have to make difficult choices. For example, if you decide to save a certain amount each month for your son’s college education, don’t use the money to pay for his soccer camp this summer. Put discretionary expenses on hold until you’ve provided for your important financial goals. However, remember that your family’s basic needs – housing, food, and health care – always take precedence.
Step 3: Enlist Help
Teamwork can help. Be sure to work with your spouse or significant other to identify and prioritize your financial goals. Otherwise, you may find that you’re working to achieve conflicting goals and, ultimately, accomplishing nothing. Discuss long-term plans with your children and make them part of the decision-making process. It will help them learn money management skills, and it will help them understand why certain choices are being made. For example, the reason they can’t spend $150 for sneakers: You’re saving for their college tuition.
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