It’s that time of year when people start listing resolutions for the coming months: things they’d like to do, habits they’d like to break, and goals they want to accomplish.
Top New Year’s Resolutions
1. Give generously
As I’ve written about previously here, giving is one of the first steps toward building true wealth.
Because giving away some of your money will reveal your attitude towards all of your money. You see, our attitude towards giving to others can reveal the condition of our heart. Or as the old saying goes, “Whoever loves money, never has money enough…”
2. Save diligently
Almost everyone with a pulse understands that having a little extra money set aside for the “unexpected” can be incredibly helpful when those unplanned financial emergencies happen.
And they WILL happen.
But two questions remain…
- What should you be saving for?
- How much should you be saving?
Fortunately, I’ve written a blog post that covers these two questions and you can read it here.
3. Invest wisely
Many people invest their money, but few do it wisely. At SageOak, we take advancements in the field of financial science, coupled with timeless financial wisdom and principles, in order to build customized investment portfolios to help you reach your goals.
To learn a little about the Nobel Prize winning research and findings behind our investment philosophy watch the short video posted here.
4. Spend less than you earn
Novel idea isn’t it? If you spend less than you earn, you’ll have extra money at the end of the month.
This resolution is one of 5 basic steps towards being a better steward of the resources God has entrusted you with. To learn 4 more steps of good financial stewardship, click here.
5. Increase your retirement savings
Are you saving 5% of your paycheck for retire…err…rehirement? Try increasing that each month this year to 6%…then 7%…then 8%…until you reach your desired savings percentage. Also, read this post to learn a few more things everybody ought to know about planning for retirement.
6. Put together a plan
Not everyone needs a financial planner, but everyone needs a financial plan. With that said, the idea of putting together a long-term financial plan is pretty intimidating for most people. So, to figure out if you need a financial advisor to help you put together your plan, read this post.
And if you’re already convinced that you need a financial advisor, watch this video to learn the different ways financial advisors get paid and which one I think is in the best interests of the client.
7. Stop putting off the essentials
Maybe you don’t think that whole “planning for the future” thing is very urgent. Essentials such as estate planning (i.e. a will, life insurance, etc.), emergency savings, and a few other tasks might not be urgent, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t important!
For a few helpful tips on some of the essentials, watch this video to see why you might need life insurance and read this two part series about estate planning documents everyone needs.
8. Pay down debt
Easier said than done, right? If you need some tips on how to get this one done, check out this list for 25 Ways to Save Money and Get Rid of Debt Once and For All.
9. Teach your kids about money
Very few parents teach their kids about money growing up, many times because they don’t know how to handle money themselves. To help get you started, check out this cool infographic for ideas on things to teach your kids about money at any age.
10. Get healthy
Investing the time (and sometimes money) to improve your health will not only save you money on healthcare, it will also save you money in other areas of your life.
Think about it. When was the last time you saw some ripped guy or gal in line ahead of you at a fast food restaurant?
Yeah, that’s what I thought.
11. Spend more time with your spouse
Take one night each week this year and designate it as a date night for you and your spouse. Spending time to regularly invest in your relationship will yield unbelievable dividends in the short and long-term.
Divorce is expensive both financially and emotionally, whereas date nights can be inexpensive or free. Now, which one sounds like more fun to you?
Need some ideas on what to do for your next date night? Check out this blog written by some old friends of mine for a ton of great date night ideas.
12. Learn something new (for free!)
Always wanted to be a tech geek? Learn how to write code for free at Codeacademy’s website.
Want to learn how to better manage your wealth and make wise financial decisions?
13. Use technology to save time and money
If you have a smartphone and/or tablet, then you have access to some incredible tools that have the potential to save you boatloads of time and money this year. I’ve got a short list of some of my favorite time and money saving apps here.
14. Feed your soul
True wealth has nothing to do with money. You can make resolution after resolution about your finances, but it won’t matter if your soul isn’t tended to.
For some thoughts in this area, I’ll simply quote the famous 17th century philosopher, Blaise Pascal:
There was once in a man true happiness of which there now remain to him only the mark and empty trace, which he in vain tries to fill from all his surroundings, seeking from things absent the help he does not obtain in things present.
But these are all inadequate, because the infinite abyss can only be filled by an infinite and immutable object, that is to say, only by God Himself.
Scratching your head? Watch the video below to get a more modern day rendition of what this quote means for you and me.
(For more info on how to feed your soul in 2014, check out Desiring God’s website here).
How about you?
Got any more good financial resolutions for 2014? Send me an email or leave a comment below to let me know!