Running On Empty?
Santa has come and gone and you had a great time. But now you look at your bank statement and realize that not only are you tired from the parties but your bank account is running on empty and you don’t know where you are with your financial goals. What do you do to recharge your finances and prepare for the coming new year? Here are three excellent actions to take to prepare for financial peace in the new year.
First: Prioritize Your Goals
Now that the holidays are over and we are preparing for the new year, we must prioritize our goals. This action recognizes that we usually can’t get every one of our financial goals done all at once. So, prioritize something like this:
- Got debt from the holidays? Make this your first priority and pay off your debt. Not only will this save you money in the long run, but most people feel a sense of accomplishment and relief when they retire debt.
- Review your budget. Did you spend more or less than you had budgeted for Christmas? Adjust your budget accordingly for next year to limit any negative surprises.
- With just one week until year end, review how you did meeting your savings goals for the year. Did you meet your goals in each savings area: retirement, college (for kids), future purchases, and emergency fund? If you met your goals, great! Start thinking about your goals for next year. If you did not meet your goals, do you know why? Take a moment and analyze why, then determine if you can overcome those issues moving forward and adjust your 2016 savings goals accordingly.
Second: Find Your Joy
Take a moment now and reflect on what you liked and didn’t like in managing your finances this past year. Did you enjoy managing your budget? Yes? great, keep it up. Not so much? Then maybe find some tools to help you automate the process. Budget tools like YNAB, Mint and Quicken are just a few of the readily available tools, not to mention a simple old fashion spreadsheet. In any case, use technology to lessen the burden so that you continue to budget your spending and saving.
Don’t care to move money into savings accounts and retirement funds each month? Automate these actions too. Most banks provide powerful tools to automatically transfer money from your checking account into savings and investment accounts.
Last, a huge part of our joy in managing our finances is our ability to help others through generous charitable contributions. Review your giving for the year. Did you meet your goals? Did you find joy in helping others? Were you able to impact the lives of others in a positive way? Reflect on this and adjust your giving in 2016 to better meet your giving goals.
Third: Learn, Adjust And Set The Course For Financial Peace
So, what do we want to do in this final week of 2015 to set the course to financial peace in 2016? It’s easy:
- Pay off our holiday debt, have a plan to pay off all your other consumer debt too!
- Update our savings goals for the new year
- Update our giving goals for the new year
- Revise our budgets based on actual 2015 spending and savings
- Find ways to make financial management easier or more fun. Automate!
- Now let time and the power of compound interest work together to help you meet your long term financial goals!
The last week of the year is a great time to reflect on holiday spending and the financial performance of the previous year as a way to prepare financial goals for the coming year. Get your financial house together so you can experience financial peace in 2016!