*Please Note: No portion of the video content, or any amount of prior experience or success, should be construed by a client or prospective client as a guarantee that he/she will experience a certain level of results or satisfaction if NECFA is engaged, or continues to be engaged, to provide investment advisory services.
- Revisit your household budget (or create one) - Assess your average monthly income, as well as your fixed and variable expenses, and determine your financial priorities for 2023 to develop the ideal budget for you. Reassessing your budget may be especially valuable now, as high inflation forces many households to allocate more for essentials like groceries or gas.
- Check Your Emergency Fund - It’s always a good idea to double-check that you have adequate funds set aside for a rainy day—but that’s especially true in times when the economy may be slowing from its once robust pace. Three to six months of monthly expenses in a readily accessible account (checking, savings, money market, etc) is a good financial planning rule of thumb.
- Find little ways to save. You’ve likely seen plenty of personal finance tips on how eliminating small expenses can lead to big savings. Next year, make it a priority to follow through on these little savings throughout the year. Some ideas include:
Don’t visit the coffee shop every day. Or, at least a few days a week, downgrade from an expensive latte to a simple $2 cup of coffee.
Cancel unused subscriptions. If you aren’t watching all those streaming services, pick a couple and ditch the rest. If you have an iPhone, you can check some of your Subscriptions in your Settings and Apple ID.
Avoid the “What do we make for dinner? Let’s order in!” trap. Plan for meals and have the groceries on hand to make those meals so you don’t have any excuses not to cook.
- Pay down your credit card debt and/or pay it on time - The more credit card debt you have, the more interest you’ll pay. This is money you could be paying yourself. The dream is to pay off your cards, but even chipping in something extra above the minimum helps in the long run. As you pay your balance down, resist using your card for new charges. If you build an emergency fund, you’ll be less likely to need your card when the unexpected comes along.
- Keep an eye on your credit - Don’t let next year be the year someone sabotages your credit rating by opening an account or taking out a loan with your stolen identity. Sign up for debit and credit card monitoring, which alerts you when fraud is detected on your cards. You can take this a step further by freezing your credit reports, which prevents anyone from accessing your credit history or opening an account in your name.
- Watch your credit score – Not only does your credit score effect the rates you can borrow at, but it can also influence things like your auto insurance premiums. When you review your credit report, look for cards that you may not use any more and consider closing them. Even a card that has a $10,000 limit but is not being used can hurt your credit score but try to keep the card that has the longest history on it – as that will help your score. Also try not to open any more credit cards if you don’t have to. Sometimes companies offer a discount on purchases if you open a card through them. Having too many of these cards can hurt your score. This is a good time to check those and possibly close those out if not used often.
- Pay a bit more principal - Paying additional principal on your mortgage each month (or one extra payment a year) can save you thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the loan.
- Take advantage of credit card points - Rewards credit cards grant points every time you make a purchase, and those points can be used for travel, gift cards, or even cash. If you use your card for every purchase, the benefits are significant – but this requires discipline in paying off your balance every month and staying within your budget.
- Increase 401(k) or savings contributions. - If your employer matches 401(k) contributions, be sure to max out the match – this is free retirement money that only requires you to also invest. If you are already doing that, try to increase your savings percentage for the year. Even a boost of one percent will provide a nice increase to your retirement account balance as the years go by.
- Update beneficiary information - This personal finance resolution is easy. Simply go through your credit union, bank accounts, retirement accounts, and insurance policies to update your beneficiary data. The people listed may not have changed, but their contact information might have, so make sure everything is correct.
IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION
Please remember that past performance is no guarantee of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by New England Capital Financial Advisors, LLC [“NECFA”]), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from NECFA. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. NECFA is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of the NECFA’s current written disclosure Brochure discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request or at www.newenglandcapital.com. Please Note: NECFA does not make any representations or warranties as to the accuracy, timeliness, suitability, completeness, or relevance of any information prepared by any unaffiliated third party, whether linked to NECFA’s web site or blog or incorporated herein, and takes no responsibility for any such content. All such information is provided solely for convenience purposes only and all users thereof should be guided accordingly. Please Remember: If you are a NECFA client, please contact NECFA, in writing, if there are any changes in your personal/financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing/evaluating/revising our previous recommendations and/or services, or if you would like to impose, add, or to modify any reasonable restrictions to our investment advisory services. Unless, and until, you notify us, in writing, to the contrary, we shall continue to provide services as we do currently. Please Also Remember to advise us if you have not been receiving account statements (at least quarterly) from the account custodian.