Practical Financial Goals for a Better Money “You” This Coming Year
Did you know that about one third of New Year’s resolutions are about finances? And we all know the sad statistics for how often resolutions are kept (hardly ever). So this year, we decided to create some New Year, New Money You challenges for a healthier, wealthier life to make your money management more exciting and more successful.
Are you up for the challenge? Today’s the day, so stop waiting!
Challenge #1 Start Using a Money App
Start the year off right with a new money app!
Money apps make life easier and manage the boring details. They also make it easier to see what’s going on with your finances at a glance, giving you greater control and helping you achieve your financial goals.
There are lots of financial apps out there and most of them are free. One we really love is called Qapital! If you purchase something for $2.50 it will round up to $3 and take that difference and stick it in a savings account for you! The average savings you can accumulate in this way is about $44 a month. If you do that for a full year you will have saved about $550, which could be your whole Christmas budget, and it didn’t even hurt!
We know you are saying, “I don’t even know where to start”. Here is where the challenge comes in….just….START! If you don’t have any money apps, get one, if you have one, get another.
To recap, here are a few money apps we love:
- Create a budget hassle-free — Mint
- Track a project or travel expenses – Wally
- Send money or share expenses – Venmo
- Manage household or business expenses – Quickbooks
- Save money painlessly – Qapital
Find the one that helps you where you need it most. Don’t let the billions of money app choices or the scope of your financial goals overwhelm you. Take a look at these, or browse your device’s App Store for more high-rated money apps!
“When eating an elephant, take one bite at a time.” U.S. General Creighton Abrams
Take a nibble here and a nibble there.
Challenge #2 Invest in Yourself
Are you having an “APPy New Year”? Start the New Year off right with a new financial app. This takes only a few minutes and no money to set up, and is sure to pay dividends throughout the coming months.
Our second money challenge for the new year is a little more long-term but even more rewarding. Invest in your future, yourself, and your education. Pick one or all three — investing in a better you is a sure bet!
Do you have a “Negative Nelly” in your life? Someone who always seems to have something negative to share?
Our Negative Nelly stopped us in the neighborhood the other day and said, “New Year’s a-coming! Another year older! Not getting any younger!”
The guy should work for Hallmark.
But when we got home, Megan said, “You know, I hate to admit it, but he’s right. We won’t live this year again, and we aren’t getting any younger.”
Now, Megan mentioned the passing of the year with a twinkle in her eye because that’s who she is. She’s eternally positive, and she doesn’t like to waste a minute! She sees the passing year as a challenge, a reminder that we what do with this day matters.
The key to investing in yourself is just to bite the bullet and get started. You will feel better and you’ll have something positive to share with Negative Nelly next time you pass
So challenge #2 of the “New Year, New Money You” challenge is: invest.
Invest in Your Future
This is something we are usually really bad at, but the easiest way to do that is using a 401(k) or 403(b) through your employer. Nine out of ten of those have a matching plan so GO DO IT! It’s great because it is 100% return on your money. Most companies will match a percentage: 3, 4, 5, or even as high as 6%.
If you can put in 3% and get another 3%, why wouldn’t you do that? I have been in investment advisory for 10 years and I can’t find an investment out there that provides 100% return, so USE IT! If you don’t have one of those use an IRA or a Roth. Just put $50 away a month. It doesn’t have to be this huge amount, just start.
Here are some tips:
- If you have a retirement plan at work – run to your HR department and get the forms to increase your contribution at least to the match. Do it!
- Start an automatic savings plan – start with as little or as much as you can afford each month and have it automatically swept into your savings
- Try an app like Qapital – every time you purchase something it will take the “round up” to the nearest dollar and stick that in savings
Invest in Your Education
One of the things we are horrible at is continuing to keep ourselves educated. For me as a financial advisor, I have to take continuing education courses, but not every occupation requires it. So you need a little extra nudge. So jump into a community college class or find something online!
How about a class from the world-renown Massachusetts Institute of Technology? They offer all kinds of FREE classes through their MIT OpenCourseWare site – just sign up. Plus you can tell your friends you’re “going to MIT”. Go, invest in yourself by pursuing education!
Here are some tips:
- Look into a section 529 savings plan – a good option to grow your college savings tax-free.
- Sign up for an online class today – If you want an education you have got to go get it. My (Megan’s) grandmother, “Grams” use to say, “Education can never be taken away from you”.
- Make sure you and your spouse agree on how much you will contribute towards your children’s college or agree on if you will at all.
- Invest in yourself by spending time rather than money. When it comes to fields like financial education, you can get a terrific start just by subscribing to a few Youtube channels.
Invest in Yourself
Again, just pick somewhere to start! Get that gym membership, start a home brewing system, take a class, explore the time savings of a virtual assistant or maid, upgrade your look with a new wardrobe or hairstyle, take a floral arranging class, or find a knowledgeable counselor to help you get to that next level this year. Do something that you can really enjoy this year.
A lot of the time, we put off something we really want to do indefinitely because it just seems too expensive to even get started. Here are some tips if you want to start saving for something big that will allow you to invest in yourself:
- We often say, “If only I could get…..” – not this year! Start imagining that something special in your life and start saving for it today.
- Chunk the cost down into bite-sized pieces and get to work.
- Remember…..you don’t need a million dollars to get started. The popular app, Stash, lets you start investing with only $5.
- You can do this. This is your year!!!
From the famous “philosopher” Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
Start the year off right by challenging yourself to have a healthier, wealthier year. Also don’t forget about investing in your local church and/or charity. Giving is such a great way to make your year great too!
Make it Happen.
Taylor & Megan Kovar
The Money Couple