The year is concluding fast; 2019 will be here before you know it. Many people make resolutions at the beginning of a new year, particularly about losing weight or getting in shape. Sadly, the majority fail to stick with the resolutions and abandon their diets or exercise regimes within six weeks. Rather than focusing on getting in shape, maybe this year you should resolve to improve your financial situation instead. Here are five great resolutions you should make to improve your financial situation in 2019.
1. Set a Budget
Fewer than half of all Americans have a household budget. As a result, they have difficulty setting or reaching long-term financial goals, managing debt, or preparing for those day-to-day emergencies that inevitably occur when least expected. If you want to start 2019 with your best foot forward, resolve to establish a household budget. A good budget will give you a better understanding of where your money is going. It’ll enable you to set short- and long-term objectives, such as preparing to buy a house or a car or save for retirement. It’ll also help you build up a cash reserve so you’re prepared when you suddenly have pay for car repairs or replace a hot water heater. Finally, a good budget will also let you gauge whether you’re meeting all your goals throughout the rest of the year.
2. Begin Paying off Your Debts
The average American household now carries about $16,000 in credit card debt from month to month. Excessive debt–and the interest fees and minimum payments associated with it–often crowd out your ability to pay other important bills or save for retirement. If you’re one of the people having trouble with high credit card balances, you should resolve to improve your debt situation in 2019. Many options exist for people looking to address heavy debt. For example, you can use debt settlement services such as those offered by National Debt Relief. A debt consolidation loan or credit counseling may also be helpful. However you choose to do it, resolving to get out of debt is one of the best ways to improve your financial situation in 2019.
3. Start Saving for Retirement
How much do you have saved for retirement? If the answer is “not much,” you’re not alone. Many Americans are extremely concerned about their current level of retirement savings; in fact, over 20% of American workers have no retirement savings at all. If you want to have a secure financial future, make 2019 the year you resolve to begin saving for retirement. If the company you work for has a retirement plan, make sure you enroll in it, and contribute as much as you can. If your company has no plan, or you’re self-employed, talk to a trusted financial planner to determine the best retirement savings plan option for your situation. The sooner you begin saving for retirement, the more time you’ll have to let your money start working for you.
4. Leverage Technology
Are you relying upon paper bank statements and a notebook ledger to manage your personal finances? If so, you should resolve to make 2019 the year your financial management techniques enter the 21st century. Consider using powerful new apps to make managing your money simpler. For example, apps such as Mint can make it easier to track all your financial accounts, monitor your credit, and keep close tabs on every transaction. Other apps, such as Venmo, can help you split bills, such as utilities or restaurant tabs, amongst multiple parties. There are hundreds of financial apps out there today; find the ones that can help simplify your current financial situation and resolve to put them to good use in 2019.
5. Improve Your Financial Literacy
You should also resolve to improve your financial literacy in 2019. When it comes to basic knowledge of financial matters, Americans are in a sorry state; about two-thirds of people cannot even pass a basic financial literacy test. There are many things you can do in 2019 to get smarter about financial matters. For starters, you could read a book each month that helps you learn more about money, finances, saving, and investing. Consider subscribing to informative financial periodicals as well, such as The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and others. If you have the time, you could sign up for a financial literacy class at a local community college or adult continuing education center. Improving your financial literacy can help you make better decisions about how best to use your money, so make 2019 the year you build up your financial knowledge base.
Closing Thoughts: Resolve to Improve Your Finances in 2019
As the year closes, now is the best time to resolve to improve your financial condition in 2019. So, sit down, assess your current financial situation, and consider the resolutions recommended here. If you do, you’ll be in a great position to make 2019 your best year ever when it comes to your finances.