Easy Ways to Start Your Financial Year Off Right

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Coming off the holidays can be majorly anticlimactic. It gets even worse when those holiday bills start coming in. Now’s the time to do a little bit of planning to make the coming year a financially fruitful one. By taking some easy steps, you can ensure you end the year on a happy financial note.

Complete a Financial Review

Many of us avoid looking at our finances, which leads to more over-spending and less saving. It can be painful to look back at the year that’s ending to see what we could have done better, but without that review, we’re likely to continue in the same vein.

Take a good look at how you spent money last year. Where can you do better next year? Find the consistent money drains, so you know where to focus your attention. Did you start too many mornings with an expensive coffee treat? Do you wish you wouldn’t have spent so much on dining out? What about those memberships that auto-renew each month or year? Are you using them? If not, now’s the time to make a note and change that spending behavior. Once you know where your money drains are, plug them by coming up with a solid plan that you can stick to all year long.

Figure Out How Much You Need to Retire

It’s another one of those things we avoid looking at too closely. We tend to set up a retirement account and hope for the best. Taking control over your finances this year means taking a hard look at where you stand now. When do you want to be able to retire? How much do you want to have saved before that time? Talk to a trusted financial advisor to see how you can make changes to your savings plan, so you can retire when and how you want!

Set Up a Special Savings Account

If you cringe when you get your credit card bills after the holidays, why not set up a plan for paying for next year’s holiday gifts now? It’s easy to create a savings account for big-ticket items or planned expenses like gift-giving, purchasing a new car, or even much-needed clothing or furniture. Once you have it set up, ask your employer to put a percentage of each paycheck into the account, so you don’t even have to think about savings.

Increase Your 401 (K) Contributions

Saving for your future doesn’t have to be painful. If you increase your retirement or 401(K) contributions only by 1%, you’ll be surprised how much that will add up by the time you’re ready to retire. And since it’s such a small amount, you won’t even miss it!

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Dominique

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