I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas holiday. You may be starting to think about goals and resolutions for 2016. I try to go into each new year with a clean slate. For me, this often means I’m caught up on my to-do list, my room is clean, and I’m focusing on specific goals and areas of focus for the new year. In that regard, I thought I would recommend a few FINANCIAL RESOLUTIONS that are simple in implementation but big in impact.

1. Determine how much you can CONTRIBUTE TO YOUR 401(k) PLAN, while still having enough money to live and accomplish your other goals. I’ve heard some people say you should contribute just more than feels comfortable. Whatever it is, determine how much you can contribute, set it so that amount comes out of every paycheck, and live within the rest. If you set it now, you won’t have to think about it for the rest of the year. Resolution accomplished!

For more information you can read my post on 401(k) plans.

2. Calculate your NET WORTH. This is something I encourage everyone to do at least annually. I find there to be real power in seeing just how much this increases every year. If you track it on the last day of every year (+/- a few days), especially as you are accumulating and saving money, you will (perhaps with rare exception) see annual growth and be reminded of the reasons you’re saving money to begin with.

For more information you can read my post on calculating net worth.

3. Determine everything you can AUTOMATE and set it up. I recently described Venmo to my landlord and asked if she would look into it. She agreed, and I can now pay rent via Venmo. For me, this makes my life so much easier. (I’m now out of the monthly check writing game completely!) I also automate savings and monthly bills. Put controls in place to help you save, spend wisely, and live within your means.The first three suggestions are largely “one-and-done” resolutions. If you take a few minutes this week, you can mark them off as accomplished until the end of next year (or the next time you find a need to re-evaluate…and possibly save even more!). The last two are a bit more involved but  I feel worth the time.

4. If you want to gain better insight into where your money goes each month, I encourage you to go back to my posts on this very topic. TRACKING YOUR CASH FLOW every month during 2016 will help you identify just where your money goes. As a result, you can see where you are spending too much money or wasting money on things you don’t actually value.

You can check out both of these posts:

What’s In A Month Part 1

What’s In A Month Part 2

5. Speaking of what you VALUE, I also encourage you to re-evaluate your GOALS. Why do you want money in the first place? This may be another goal worth re-visiting on a monthly basis. You could review your monthly discretionary spending to see if it aligns with your values and then try to improve each month.

What are you financial New Year’s resolutions? What are your resolutions for other aspects of your life? How do you find ways to then KEEP these resolutions?

Until 2016,
Lucy


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