Now that 2014 is over it is time to push forward and make 2015 your best year yet. Did you make New Year Resolutions? On the tope of many people’s lists are getting their finances in order in 2015. So, here are a few tips to help you create the financial life you desire.
- Get out of debt once and for all!
Whether you have debt because of education – like I do – or because you like to shop – no matter the reason for your debt, do yourself a favor and pay it off. If your debt seems overwhelming, make an effort to pay more than the minimum amount. Think before you buy anything so that you can put as much money as you can on paying down your debt.
- Create an emergency fund
The Great Recession showed us just how unprepared Americans were, and still are, should a crisis hit. Most Americans are a paycheck or two away from pure financial chaos. Create an emergency fund of at least 3 to 6 months of living expenses to thwart off life’s unexpected events such as losing a job, a sickness or death. It doesn’t matter how much you start saving, just start putting something away to create this necessary fund.
- Increase your retirement savings
According to a report by the National Institute on Retirement Security: The Retirement Savings Crisis: Is It Worse Than We Think?; 45% of working- age households (38.3 million) have no retirement account assets. The median retirement account balance is $3,000 for all working-age households and $12,000 for near-retirement households. It seems as though the dream of retiring comfortably and traveling the world is near impossible for many. How much will should you save? As much as you can! Of course, this will depend on your own individual or family situation and your expected expenses during retirement. Nonetheless, many people do not have a clue how much money they will need. Have you calculated what you expect to need during your retirement years? Even though there are catch-up clauses that allow individuals to save more money the closer they get to retirement, you lose a valuable source of earning power – compound interest. The time to save is now, especially for those who are just entering the workforce. The earlier you save, the more you’ll have in retirement.
- Prepare a budget
How will we be able to get all of this done? Create a budget! I know, I know, most Americans don’t have a budget. According to a 2013 Gallup pole, two-thirds of Americans do not budget. Nonetheless, budgeting is a life changer – an eye opener. It doesn’t matter how much money you earn, everyone can benefit from a budget. It can give you financial direction and help plan for life’s unexpected – but inevitable – surprises.
So go ahead and let’s make 2015 the year we take that step towards accomplishing our financial goals!