Goal setting and planning are cornerstones of financial success.
- The first step is to review your financial goals so you know what to focus on this year.
- A good way to make sure you stay on track financially is to create a budget and income statement.
- A financial plan will help you reach your financial goals and track your progress.
The start of a new year is a good time to review and take control of your finances. Whether you’re just starting out in your career, or have been in the game for a while, everyone needs to ask themselves three important questions about their finances.
- Where do I want to go?
- Where am I now?
- How do I get to?
Following this checklist can help you answer these questions and make 2023 your best financial year yet.
1. Set financial goals
Setting financial goals answers the first question. If you don’t first know what your financial goals are, there will be nothing to plan or focus on. Your financial goals help you have direction and motivation when things get tough. Take the time to write them down and put them somewhere easy to see.
You can even break them down into short, medium and long term. A long-term goal may be to retire at a certain age; medium-term household savings goals; and the short-term goal is to save enough for an emergency fund. Make your goals SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, meaningful, time-based) and share your goals with others so they can help hold you accountable.
2. Create a budget and wealth statement
This answers the second question, “Where are you now?” Just like a GPS tracker, you need to know exactly where you are right now to know the way to your destination. Creating budgets and cost statements isn’t as scary as it sounds. In fact, it’s one of the most important steps you can take when planning your financial future.
A budget helps you keep track of your income and expenses so you know exactly where your money is going. It also allows you to plan ahead and prioritize the amount you want to save each month. Your wealth statement is a list of your assets (cash, investments, properties, etc.) and your liabilities (credit card debt, mortgages, mortgages, etc.).
Once you have a clear picture of your finances, it will be easier to make smart decisions about your spending habits and reduce obligations so you can reach your financial goals.
3. Create a financial plan
Once you know where you want to go and where you are financially now, you can create a financial strategy and plan to get there. Let’s say you want to retire at age 50 living on $50,000 a year (your goal). If you are currently in your 30s and have just paid for your education, but have little savings (budget and net worth), how much should you save? The answer will depend on various factors, but using the 4% retirement rule and assuming a 10% annual return, you need to save about $1,600 per month ( how you will get there) to achieve your goals. Can’t afford it? You may have to adjust your goals. That’s why it’s so important to know your budget and value for money!
Saving money should be at the top of everyone’s list when it comes to their financial future. Starting with emergency fund placement. It is always good to have money saved for unexpected expenses or emergencies. Then, try to create long-term savings goals and yours is max retirement account. You should also consider setting aside extra money each month specifically for big purchases like cars, vacations, or home renovations so that these items don’t become a financial burden down the road.
Any financial plan needs to address paying off debt as soon as possible. Credit cards, car payments, and other debts – these all add up quickly if not taken care of right away. The faster they pay, the more money you’ll get each month. Consider consolidating high-interest debt into one loan with a lower interest rate to make it easier to keep track of payments and manage your overall debt level.
As part of your financial planning, don’t forget to look at your insurance policy. Do you have enough life insurance, home insurance, and other types of coverage? Do you need a will or beneficiary plan? Addressing these issues is an important part of your plan and will help give you more peace of mind.
Making small changes now can have big results later. This checklist provides some simple steps that people can take today to create a secure financial future for themselves. Your plan will help you track your progress toward your goals. So why wait? Start taking control of your money now and set yourself up for success in 2023. With this checklist, there’s nothing stopping you from reaching your financial goals this year!
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