11 New Year Money Resolutions for 2019
by Steve Lewit
In wishing you a happy and healthy new year, I thought it would be a good idea to give you a menu of my eleven favorite new year’s resolutions to help make your 2019 even more exceptional.
Most new year resolutions last just a few weeks or months and then run out of steam. So, I suggest you pick one or two of these and make a 100%, no matter what commitment to keeping your financial resolution for the full year.
If you do, not only will your finances improve, but so will your confidence and self-esteem.
1. Become the CFO of your financial household.
Your household is very much like a small business so why not treat it that way? By calling yourself the CFO (Chief Financial Officer) you will shift from treating your finances casually to running them as you would the finances of a big company.
That means managing cash flow, having weekly, scheduled meetings with your spouse or partner about money, giving yourself rewards if you make certain goals, and of course, having a short and long-term plan.
For example, as CFO, you could designate every Monday night as money night, just as you might designate every Thursday night as your dinner night. Once you’re on schedule and having regular discussions about money, your finances are bound to improve.
2. Build a budget.
As CFO, if you don’t have a plan how could you possibly know where your going, if you moving forward or falling behind?
Planning when and how to pay off debt, whether you should accelerate payment of you mortgage, how you are going to fund college education, your retirement, or long-term nursing care expenses, establishing specific growth and loss rates for your investments, making sure your retirement income is flowing, are all part of a well-made plan.
If you make a plan and follow it, then your chances of meeting your goals, according to research, are exponentially higher.
3. Adopt financially savvy micro-habits.
You know the adage that little things mean a lot. Well, when it comes to your money that is especially true. A micro-habit is a quick, regular activity which you do that will drive your finances forward.
You might read one financial column a week; listen to a short financial podcast daily; read two pages of a personal finance book before you retire for the evening; get up fifteen minutes earlier each day and review your finances; pay bills the moment they come in.
The key here is to make your micro-habits quick, regular and interesting to you. You will be amazed at how much you learn and get done.
4. Automate Your Finances.
Once your plan is in place put as much of it as you can on autopilot. Not only will your finances run more smoothly, but you will have far less worry about missing something or making a poor decision than if you did everything manually.
You can automate bill payments, savings programs, credit reduction, mortgage reduction, and much more. Get technology on your side and free up your brain and your time.
5. Adult Children at Home? Time to Kick them Out!
Okay, you love your kids and want to help them. It’s one thing to give junior a place to stay while he’s looking for his first job, in between jobs, or in temporary financial trouble. However, taking on responsibility of an adult child is quite another thing.
First, supporting an adult child undermines his or her ability to stand on their own two feet. You could actually be enabling them to do worse for themselves.
Second, the financial drain of an adult child often undermines the financial stability of the parent, many to the extent of making retirement difficult or impossible.
I know it’s hard but take a cold look at your adult child and do the right thing. Everyone wins if you do.
6. How About an Estate Plan for Your Pets?
This is not a top priority but something to consider both for you pet’s welfare and to make you feel better about yourself. If your pets feel like members of your family, then why not treat them that way?
If you suddenly die in a car crash or something like that, what will happen to your cat, dog, or pet snake? Update your will or trust to include your pet. You will have greater peace of mind and your pet will pick up those vibes and feel better too.
7. Begin Co-Managing Your Money.
Okay, this is a tough one. In most couples one person is responsible for money a the other takes a back seat, often knowing little if anything about finances.
Remember the saying, “If you don’t use it you will lose it?” If your partner is not involved, he or she will eventually become financially ignorant. Then, when things go wrong, you get all the blame and they don’t have any idea how to get out of the financial difficulty. That’s when arguments, anger, mistrust arise, and communication breaks down.
Have regular discussions about money with your partner. If you do it will go a long way to solidify your finances and your relationship.
8. Let it Be Okay to Fight About Money.
Respectful arguments over money are very healthy. This is where you get to know how your partner thinks about finances, reacts to gain and loss, which future goals are more or less important, where you can agree and where it is impossible to agree. If you need to, bring in an independent advisor to help you negotiate with each other and resolve disagreement where each side is stuck in their own belief or point of view.
Relationships are difficult as whole. Don’t let money make them even more difficult.
9. Clean Out One Closet.
Clutter, even clutter you can’t see, creates stress, which in turn has an impact on spending. People often go on spending binges just to relieve their stress. Or, because their closet is filled with old clothing they are always buying more to spruce it up.
When your closet is decluttered and all that remains are things that you care for a love, stress is reduced, and space is created so that you can live a healthier life.
10. Get Used to Saying No.
Saying ‘no’ when family or friends, people you really care for, approach you for a loan or financial assistance is very difficult because you probably want to help them, and you don’t want to hurt their feelings.
But, if helping others means putting yourself into debt or jeopardy of not fulfilling your own goals, it’s time to say ‘no’. Once you do, however, you must stand your ground, as hard as it might emotionally be for you. If you do, both you and the person borrowing from you will benefit.
11. Work With a Qualified Financial Advisor.
I’m sure you’re not surprised to see this last resolution on my list. Many people think that they don’t need an advisor, that they can handle all their financial issues and questions themselves. But most people I meet, even if they are pretty good at it, miss a lot of opportunities where they could do better.
A good advisor is worth his or her salt many time over, not only for getting superior results, but also for creating greater peace of mind. There is extensive research that shows that people who work with an advisor have more confidence about their finances.
This is a resolution that could have a big payoff for you in 2019 and many, many years after.
I hope 2019 will be your best year ever. Put some of these resolutions in place to assure that it will.