With the ringing in of a new year just around the corner, it is time to revisit a popular New Year’s resolution that many people make yet find hard to keep. Each year, millions of Americans vow that this will be the year they finally get their finances in order. While this is an admirable goal, only a small percentage of individuals manage to attain the success they seek. Here we look at a few tips to ensure you are part of that small percentage who get their finances on the right track in the new year.
Set attainable goals
One of the easiest ways to derail your plans to improve your finances is by setting unrealistic goals. Paying off debt, building savings and maxing out retirement contributions are great goals however unrealistic if you are recovering from a financial hardship. While you should always aim high when setting goals, do not aim so high that you are setting yourself up for failure. If you do this, you will likely give up before you achieve any of the goals you have set. Take a close look at your budget and make changes and plans that are within reach. Once you reach one goal, you can move on to the next with more confidence in your ability to succeed.
Organize your paperwork
From paperwork needed for tax purposes to designated files for reoccurring household bills, organizing your documents will help you organize your finances. If you have opted to go green and not receive paper statements, you can still organize your documents electronically in individual folders or by using software specifically designed to help you manage and track your finances.
One of the biggest challenges consumers face today is a lack of education regarding most things financial. You don’t have to get a degree in finance to master the basics of bill management, savings and even investing. There are plenty of community programs available in the wake of the recession offering free or low cost education programs to consumers. In addition, there are plenty of free resources online or at your local library which may help you in learning what you need to know to properly manage your finances. Take advantage of these resources, however always fully research the source to ensure the information is correct.
Establish milestones to check progress
To ensure your are on the right track, establish milestones or “check points” to re-evaluate your progress. If you find you are not on track you can always look at why you may not be reaching your goals and make adjustments to get on the right path. It is never too late to make changes that will help you achieve success.