New Years Clock

Happy Tuesday, everyone! As quickly as 2017 started, in less than 3 weeks, it will end and 2018 will begin. And you know what that means – everyone will be making their New Year’s resolutions. We all make them every year, but unfortunately, most of those resolutions tend to be unrealistic. How great would it be if you could make a resolution that is actually achievable AND would be beneficial to you and your family long-term? Check out this list of ideas of New Year’s resolutions to help you to whip your finances into shape and prepare for your future! Of course, there are oh-so many other things you could do to improve your financial standing in 2018, these are just some suggestions to get those creative juices flowing!

Create a Budget and STICK TO IT!

BudgetingThis seems like such a simplistic idea, but it’s apparently easier said than done. Research indicates that only 41% of American households actually use a budget. That’s less than half! That means the other 59% are just winging it on a monthly basis. I’m all for spontaneity, but playing Russian Roulette with my finances doesn’t sound like fun. It sounds stressful. I’m not suggesting that you go cold turkey and plan for every last penny you have to your name, I’m just saying know your cash flows. Know what your monthly income is in relation to your expenses (rent/mortgage, utilities, car payments, other monthly bills, etc.). Write the figures down so you can physically see them and develop a plan. If you’re tech savvy, plug them into a spreadsheet so everything is nice, neat and organized. If you are new to this whole concept of budgeting, check out my blog about the easiest “budget” plan out there, the 50-30-20 plan.

Plan for Your Future

People (especially younger ones) tend to think they have all the time in the world to get ready for their golden years. Before they know it, they’re 55 and have nothing saved for retirement! In the short time that I’ve been with Wealth Builders CPAs & Consultants (almost 5 months), I’ve written numerous blogs on this very topic. Why? Because I feel that is it SO important but is all too often overlooked. Make 2018 the year that you begin to plan for your future. Open a traditional or Roth 401k and vow to max out your contributions during 2018. Maybe your employer offers a company-funded employee retirement account? At the very least, contribute enough to max out your employer’s portion of the contribution. That’s free money and who doesn’t love free? If you’re a little overwhelmed and feel that this concept of retirement planning is like a different language, check out some of my blogs on traditional and ROTH IRAs. If you’re still perplexed or overwhelmed, feel free to give our office a call. Our team of expert financial planners would love to sit down with you and help you develop a plan to save for your future. Best of all? The consultation is completely free! What are you waiting for?!

Keep an Eye on Your Credit Score

Today it seems “normal” to hear that there have been data breaches and that personal and financial Credit Reportinformation has been stolen by hackers. Every year about this time, it seems that at least one store finds out that its security system has been compromised and that people’s credit and debit card information has been exposed. Earlier this year, the major Equifax breach took place and affected nearly 150 million people. As unfortunate as these circumstances are, this is the world we live in today and we need to be proactive to protect our financial and personal information. This year, make it a point to regularly check and monitor your credit score. As easy as this is, many people overlook it and miss the early signs of identity theft or fraud. The three major credit agencies (Transunion, Experian, and Equifax) all allow you to check your credit once each year free of charge. If you space things out just right, you could check your credit every four months and not pay a dime! Also, consider signing up for free 24/7 credit monitoring and be alerted the minute something fishy takes place.

Adjust Your Withholding at Work

Just a couple of weeks ago, I posted a blog entitled, “That Refund Could Cost You” . If you haven’t done so already, check it out. It explains why zero is the Holy Grail when it comes to tax liabilities and tax refunds. By simply adjusting your withholding to the proper amounts, you can increase your take-home pay. If you can, pretend like that extra money in your paycheck never existed and try to find a way to invest it! Look at you meeting two goals in one step! If you have questions about adjusting your withholding and why it matters so much, give us a call and schedule a free consultation today!

Financial Planning for 2018Decide to Pay Down Debt and Take the First Step to Become Debt-Free

Debt is easy to accumulate. Whether you were laid off, encountered some unforeseen expenses, or just made some spending mistakes, those expenses can rack up really quickly. It’s easy to get into that hole, but oh so difficult to dig your way out. The average American household owes just over $16,000 in credit card debt. That’s not even including student loans, mortgages, or car loans. How amazing would it feel to begin to chip away at that number (whatever it may be for your personal situation) and be well on your way to becoming debt free? It’s easier than you may think. With some determination and a plan, you can be well on your way! If you need some ideas, check out my blogs about some different methods of debt repayment. If you have questions or need some advice on how to tackle debt, call our office today and schedule a free consultation!

Of course, the ideas listed here are only a few of the financial New Year’s resolutions you could decide to make. Just remember, the key to the success of any New Year’s resolution is determination and follow through! Whether you vow to lose weight or get your finances in order, you sticking to it will determine whether your plan will be a wild success or just go down as another good idea. Don’t pick up that cookie or swipe that credit card. You can do this!

If you have any questions regarding retirement planning, debt retirement, budgeting, or anything else financial, give our office a call! Schedule a free consultation with one of our financial experts. A member of our team would love to sit down with you and help you make your 2018 resolution a reality!

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Backman, Maurie. “Nearly 3 in 5 Americans Are Making This Huge Financial Mistake.” CNN Money, 24 Oct. 2016, 2:23PM, www.money.cnn.com/2016/10/24/pf/financial-mistake-budget/index.html .

Hackett, Robert. “Equifax Underestimated by 2.5 Million the Number of Potential Breach Victims.” Fortune, 2 Oct. 2017, www.fotune.com/2017/10/02/Equifax-credit-breach-total/ .

“This is How Much Credit Card Debt the Average American Holds.” Fox Business, 9 Sept. 2017, www.foxbusiness.com/features/2017/09/09/this-is-how-much-credit-card-debt-average-american-holds.html.