It’s that time of year again: time to step back, reflect, and reassess where you are – to take in the bigger picture – so you can make smart decisions about how to move forward in the year to come. And, as you review and reset in general, remember to also take stock of your financial picture.
Here are three steps to help put you on course financially:
1. Update your financial plan. If you don’t have one yet, create one – a good financial adviser can help. The simple exercise of creating a comprehensive financial plan will give you a clear sense of your financial situation. It will also give you an idea of how decisions you made (or didn’t make) throughout the year have affected your bottom line. Armed with this information, you’ll be in a stronger position to make adjustments in the year to come.
2. Make double payments on your credit cards (or mortgage) for four months. You may have to sacrifice small luxuries to do it, but you’ll make a big dent in your debt. It will feel amazing.
Need help figuring out how to free up some cash to make the extra payments? Try a “no spend” month. For 30-days, spend ONLY on necessities. Not only will you save a lot of money during this period, you’ll gain the perspective you need to re-evaluate old spending habits and consider lower- or no-cost alternatives.
3. Ask yourself: Are there aspects of your life you could or should downsize? As you look back on the previous year, you may identify ways to “right size” your expenses. For some of us, this could mean making a big change, such as finally moving to a smaller home (with a smaller mortgage). Or it could be smaller changes to your lifestyle, like purchasing a smaller car or cutting back on overall entertainment expenses. Imagine yourself feeling more secure and comfortable in the years to come when it comes to your finances. Making the right changes to your spending has the power make that happen. You can change the trajectory of your financial journey, and you can make the change starting now.