I’d like to welcome you to a new year – one which I hope brings you happiness, excitement (the good kind) and great opportunity.
If you are new to my community, welcome! If you have been here since the beginning, welcome back! As I promised my readers last year, my hope is that my monthly newsletter will bring you insight into the best areas of your financial well-being. My goal each month is to bring you tips to consider, practical measures you can take, and in general, a better understanding of taxes and finances to make life easier. Financial education is very important to me and if just one thing I say in one of my newsletters can help you, then I feel my writing has succeeded.
As always, if you have any questions or topics that you’d like for me to include in the future, please let me know! I look forward to our time together!
This month I wanted to take a new spin on financial goal setting and areas of financial growth, using various quotes to help hone in on some most common areas to get started. If any of these strike a nerve for you and you’d like additional assistance on how to get started, please let me know!
Financial Wellness Strategies
The desire of gold is not for gold. It is for the means of freedom and benefit. -Ralph Waldo Emerson
Finances can trigger so many emotions! Anxiety, impatience, anger, shame, uncertainty. But what if you could feel anticipation, optimism, or even pride? As we begin a new year yet again, why not take some time to evaluate and improve your overall your financial health?
This does not have to make for a labor intensive or even a time-consuming project. There are simple strategies you can put in place that, over time, can make a huge difference.
Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship. -Benjamin Franklin
The coordination of our daily spending can be tricky. Often, we think that we spent an average of $300 a month on ‘the fun stuff’ when really, we’ve spent $600, or we don’t realize that the few subscription services we think that we have now add up to $500 a month (or that we are even still paying for them!).
Before I started my own CPA business and before becoming a licensed financial professional, I was an auditor. I spent my days reviewing various companies’ financial records, making sure that the information being displayed either publicly, to various lenders, or banks was accurate. We made sure that little things didn’t slip through the cracks, making the business look different on paper than was actually happening.
How does this apply to you? Auditing yourself is just as important as auditing a big business. These audits can take the form of a budget review, tracking the day-to-day spending, a monthly planning exercise, writing down where you are looking to spend your income this month, or just a general review to make sure you are only paying for the expenses you think you are. No matter which option you chose, make sure you know what is actually happening in your finances on a day-to-day basis and are confident that your bank records match what your expectations are for your spending. Don’t let the little things slip through the cracks (or risk sinking yor ship…).
For assistance in getting your audit going, please contact me to set up a meeting!
Always be Prepared
You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today. -Abraham Lincoln
Picture this … you are driving along and suddenly your car light comes on and you have a flat tire; you go to the doctor and they decide that another specialized test is needed to be cautious; you wake up in the morning and your home has no heat … do you panic because you don’t know if you can afford these necessary fixes or do you take a deep breath (maybe grumble to yourself) and go about fixing the problem?
Financially speaking, it is so important to always be prepared. A part of making sure you are financially healthy is making sure that added, unexpected expenses won’t derail you. Make sure you have a cushion that can be used if you’ve underestimated your expenses or if the dates of your next paycheck don’t perfectly align with when your bills are due. It can even be useful if you’ve decided that taking that vacation is necessary, right this very minute!
Lowering your stress about having the cash for that next emergency or that next trip is so important. If you feel like you don’t have the freedom with your finances yet, it’s not too late to start to build up to it. Protect yourself from the unexpected and allow yourself the ability to have spontaneous fun with your finances. We can’t control the future, but being afraid and trying to evade it is not the way to go.
Want help building more freedom into your finances? Let me know!
Aspire to be Debt-Free
To contract new debts is not the way to pay old ones. -George Washington
One of the best ways to build freedom into your financials is to have no extra debts. The next best way is to have a plan for paying down your existing debts. While going through your personal audit, consider auditing your debts as well. Take a look at the outstanding balances you have, interest rates, and monthly payments. Make sure that you are not paying more for the debt than you are paying off on a monthly basis.
Additionally, make sure that you are paying down your outstanding balances strategically. Take the time to figure out which debt balances are costing you the most or which will be easiest to get rid of. If your bank offers, reduce the interest rates that you are being charged to be able to pay off debts quicker.
If you don’t have debt right now but are considering borrowing for something this year, take the time to consider what this looks like for you on a monthly basis. Does your spending allow for additional payments towards the new balance; is there another way to pay for this expense; should you delay the purchase until you are better able to afford it? Look at what you can afford, how long it will take to pay off the debt, and how much interest it will cost you. Make sure you are spending confidently and in a way that makes you happy to be doing so.
Schedule a meeting for assistance in compiling information on your debt and finding the payoff strategy which works best for you.
Grow your Wealth
Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it. He who doesn’t, pays it. –Albert Einstein
As you build your savings and investments over time, make sure that everything you do works for you, not against you. If you have money set aside in a bank, ensure that you are earning interest on it. If you decide to invest, do so in a way that matches your risk tolerance and can continue to benefit you over time. If your job matches your retirement plan contributions, make sure you are getting the full potential of the match.
Investments and savings don’t have to be scary; in fact, they can be help you feel great about your money! There are many different ways to invest. Retirement investments are important because they provide hope and opportunity to be able to slow down or stop working one day. General investment accounts provide an easily accessible location for savings you want to do more with than just hold in a bank savings account. There are many other options in between as well.
Take the time to decide how you want your finances to look and feel. Allow them the potential to grow for you and build a financial portfolio which you are proud of and excited to do more with.
Contact me for a personalized review and recommendations on investing for your future.
Go for it!
The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. -Amelia Earhart
A plan is only as good as the actions you take after making one. Start by:
- Write it down – You are, on average, 42% more likely to succeed in doing so
- Act on it – Do the things you want to do
- Review month after month – Go back to your initial plan and see how you are doing
- Reward yourself – When you accomplish a part of your plan, reward yourself with something simple as an incentive to stay on track
- Grow your plan – As you do better, expand your financial reach. Don’t let your plan get stale
Create strategic goals and strategies that you are excited about and eager to achieve. Use this to build up momentum that can help you to both achieve and outshine your wildest dreams.
If you are having trouble staying on track, get an accountability partner, or an advisor such as myself, to help!
The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one. -Mark Twain
Thank you, as always, for your time.
Material discussed is meant to provide general information and it is not to be construed as specific financial advice. CPA services not provided through United Planners.