Most people make New Year’s resolutions centered around self-improvement. While you may decide you want to lose a few pounds or perhaps take up a new hobby, you might want to also make some resolutions regarding your finances. If you’re ready to make 2023 your best year ever from a financial standpoint, here are some ideas you should consider adding to your list of resolutions.
1. Create an Emergency Fund
Unfortunately, many people don’t have an emergency financial fund they can tap into if they have an unexpected financial crisis, such as a car repair, medical bill or perhaps even the loss of a job. If you are among the many in this situation, 2023 is the year to change this for the better. If you can’t save much money per month for this fund, start out with a goal of creating a fund that’s equal to one month of living expenses. Once you do this, try to grow it for three months. Before you know it, you may have a six-month emergency fund built up that will give you extraordinary peace of mind.
2. Pay Off Your Debt
In the U.S., it’s estimated that people owe nearly $17 billion in credit card debt. If you really want to make a major difference in your 2023 finances, make a resolution to pay down as much of your debt as possible over the coming year. Once you start looking over your monthly budget, you’ll likely find ways you can apply extra money toward paying off your debt. One recommended strategy is to start by paying off the credit card with the smallest balance, then work your way up to those with larger balances.
3. Use an Accountant
No matter where you are financially, having some meetings with a CPA can help make your resolutions a reality in 2023. This can be especially useful when it comes to your taxes, since most people often fail to take advantage of various tax credits and other financial benefits to which they are entitled. If you work with a CPA, you can discuss your financial goals, how to best structure your finances and much more.
4. Open a Retirement Account
When it comes to retirement, you can never start saving too soon. On average, many experts say that a person needs to have saved at least 10 times their annual salary by the time they retire. Whether or not you need that much is up to you, but taking small steps now can pay off big in the long-term. For example, if you have a 401(k) plan through your employer, make the maximum contribution each payday if possible. Since employers often match employee contributions in these plans, you can build up quite a nest egg in a short time. You might also consider opening an IRA, since this retirement account usually comes with numerous tax benefits. Your CPA may have other ideas that you can consider.
5. Invest Regularly
In today’s world, there are online platforms that will let you invest in stocks, real estate, and other assets. Contrary to what you may think, you won’t need hundreds or thousands of dollars to invest. In fact, there are some investment options that let you get started with only about five dollars per week. Even if you are trying to pay down debt or build up your emergency fund, you can probably find a way to invest five dollars a week.
6. Look Over Your Loans
If you have some loan payments that are eating away at your budget month after month, a great resolution to make for 2023 is to take a closer look at your loan options. For example, if you have a student loan that looks like it will never go away, consider applying for student loan debt relief offered by the federal government. If you have a mortgage or auto loan, look into refinancing options to see if you can get a better deal. Finally, if you have a large amount of credit card debt, you may want to look into getting a balance transfer card to avoid paying interest while you chisel down your debt.
7. Create or Review Your Budget
If you happen to be one of those people who goes through life without sticking to a regular budget each month, that could explain at least part of the reason why you are dealing with some financial issues. To make 2023 much easier from a financial standpoint, it’s time to sit down and create a realistic budget that you can stick to month after month. If you already have a budget, the beginning of 2023 will be a perfect time to take a closer look at it to see if it’s still working for you. As you create or review your budget, you will be amazed at how much you spend on certain things, like going out to eat or spending on electronics. If you decide to perhaps eat at home a bit more often, the money you save can play a big role in helping you achieve other financial goals.
8. Avoid Impulse Buying
Whether it’s something you see when shopping in a store, on a website or even in one of those late-night infomercials, do all you can in 2023 to resist the temptation of impulse buying. If you give in to this temptation, it will almost certainly be a budget-killer. If there’s something you are considering purchasing, always try to give yourself at least 24 hours to think it over. By doing so, chances are you’ll avoid buying things that you didn’t truly need.
If you keep these eight New Year’s resolutions in mind when the clock strikes midnight in 2023, you and your CPA can work together to create financial goals that will have you breathing much easier about your financial situation.