1. Get on a budget. If your New Year’s resolution was to get on a budget, by this point you should have taken 3 months of bank statements/credit card statements and figured out where you are spending your money. There are apps and websites that can help you do this, or you can do it manually. Once you know your average spend you can build your budget. With that done, you can eliminate unnecessary expenses. Once that is completed, you should automate as many bills as possible and put yourself on a weekly allowance, so you don’t have to spend any time thinking about your money. There is a big difference between knowing exactly how much you have in your bank account and where every penny has to go versus knowing your budget is taken care of and having permission to spend knowing you won’t overdraft your account.
2. Have a will and powers of attorney in place. Many people don’t think they need a will because they don’t feel they have much to pass on. A will is important even if you don’t have much to pass along. Why? How about Guardianship of you minor children? Pull the plug or keep you on life support? Financial powers of attorney? All of these things need to be addressed in advance of when you might need them. Get that done and cross it off your list!
3. Refi your house or student loans. With rates still hovering near all-time lows if you haven’t looked into refinancing your student loans or your house, you should do it now. Lower rates mean lower payments. All that money you save could be building for retirement.
4. Build your emergency fund. If you don’t have money in your emergency fund, get on a plan to build that liquidity. This will keep you from going backward in the future and give you a cushion for when you have opportunities.
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