As 2017 fades into memory, and 2018 is upon us, it’s time to take stock and consider what our New Year’s resolutions should be. They range from the classic “lose some weight” to the more ambitious “learn how to race like Richard Petty.”
Each week we try to bring you some of the more important political and economic issues of the day, and how they can affect your money. This week, the most important ways to talk about taking care of your finances is to look at what you can do personally to plan and prepare for the future. They are simple, and not new … the question is will you have the willpower and the discipline to do them?
Perhaps, more importantly, are resolutions which impact our long-term financial picture. It’s been an unprecedented year for the economy and the stock market, and that has presented numerous opportunities to reflect and take charge of our financial future, making decisions that best impact our financial standing.
Here are our Top 5 New Year’s Resolutions for 2018!
- Save more money! Wages are up, and there is no time like the present! Saving money is critical for short-term emergencies and long-term financial health. Creating a budget and living within your means can help you save some on the margins. And in turn, those savings should go right into the bank.
- Reduce your spending. This may seem obvious, but refinance your house payment into a lower interest rate, choose to eat out one time less a month, get creative on discretionary spending, move that thermostat two degrees either direction depending on the season … these cost-saving moves and more can help you put more away under number one!
- Pay off/down your debt. Another “Master of the Obvious” moment …get out of high-interest rate credit cards by paying them off … be disciplined by using cash over cards when shopping … as you pay off cards, cut them up – put them into permanent retirement … the less debt, the less interest you are paying, the more money available to save!
- Create an emergency fund. Very few Americans have adequate savings for retirement, much less an emergency fund. But this is the best way to start, figure out some worst case, big-ticket items that would set you back if they went south at the wrong time – air conditioner, refrigerator, car brakes – add them up and create a savings account just for these items. Saving for the “rainy day” fund will help you focus on specific amounts that would be needed, and that focus can help you broaden your savings objectives.
- Put more money away into your retirement account. With the savings created from the actions taken in numbers 1-4, it’s time to put more money into your retirement portfolio. But not just the acts of discipline – the Republicans just delivered a HUGE Christmas gift with their Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Middle-income families should receive a tax break of approximately $800 in 2018 … savings should be seen in your paycheck in February … reduced taxes business taxes will lower the costs of goods and services that you buy … medical expended can be deducted at a higher amount … it increases the size of the standard deduction you can claim … it increases the child care tax credit … the amount of money you will be saving and returning to your pocketbook will be unprecedented this upcoming year. Take advantage of those savings – put some of that money into your retirement account. If you don’t have one, start one.
2017 – a year of unprecedented financial and economic success here in the US: soaring stock market … increased GDP … lower unemployment … imports up … exports up … it was almost too good to be true. 2017 – we will miss you!
Makes you want to think about protecting some of those hard-earned gains, right?
2018 is an opportunity to save what you’ve earned … and one of the investment strategies which services such a “protection” investment plan is a principal protection vehicle. You can find out more about how to take those savings and protect them from market fluctuation by calling us now! 877-912-1919