New Year is the perfect time to hit “refresh” on your finances. Whether you need to update your insurance, rewrite your budget or prepare investment plan, take some time to consider these 10 action steps. They can help you improve your finances over the next 12 months.
1.Decide on Financial Goals.
Be clear and precise about what you want to achieve in 2015. Do you want to buy a new home or increase investment portfolio or save for your MBA course? Clearly setting your financial goals makes it easier to work toward them.
2.Create a Spending Plan.
Most people spend about two-thirds of their income on food, housing and transportation. Then there are debt payments, savings, household costs and optional items such as entertainment. Create an annual budget by allocating spending goals for each category.
3.Track your Spending.
Keeping track of every expenditure over a two-week period can offer insight into unnecessary wastes. You can use a pen and pencil, Microsoft Excel or take advantage of free online tools, such as Mint.com.
You cannot control what you cannot measure
4.Look for additional Sources of Income.
The lack of job security in today’s market means anyone could lose their job or face a salary cut. This year, consider other sources of income such as weekend class tutor, application developer, social media consultant etc. Better still, you can launch your own small business.
5.Negotiate your Salary.
While many workers feel lucky to simply have a job, sometimes asking for a raise can be a smart move. If you’ve recently changed job, received a promotion or realized you are underpaid compared to your peers, it might be time to sit down with your supervisor and request a raise. Hi, be sure you are working harder compare to these peers.
6.Pay off high-interest rate debt quickly.
Credit cards are among the highest interest rate debt in most market. For example credit card interest can approximately average 2 to 3 percent per month in Nigeria. Paying off credit cards as soon as possible can help reduce fees and interest-rate charges over time.
7.Remember the Risk-versus-Reward rule.
There are two classic rules of investing: asset diversification and risk-reward trade-off. If you want higher rewards, you have to take on greater risk. Assess your investment objectives and risk profile, then invest accordingly. If you like to know your money is safe, you probably want to keep it in more conservative investments such as certificate of deposit, guaranteed money market funds, treasury bills etc.
8.Start early, Invest often.
Don’t wait until you are 40 before thinking about pension. Think about it now. The power of compounding means saving early will lead to a much bigger nest egg at retirement time . If your company offers a matching-contribution program for your pension plan, taking advantage of it will only add to your saving efforts.
9.Plan your Finance with your better half.
If you’re married or living with a significant other, a good family financial planning should not done with silo mentality. Setting joint spending goals can help minimize conflicts over daily or weekly spending, even if you decide to maintain separate bank accounts.
10.Create a giving Circle.
If you want to donate to charity, but feel like your budget is too small to make a difference, a giving circle might be for you. Similar to a book club, it involves a group of friends getting together to jointly donate to a single charity, and often volunteer their time together as well.
The value of a man resides in what he gives and not in what he is capable of receiving. — Albert Einstein