Although we are more than three-quarters of the way through 2021, it’s not too late to set some financial goals for the last two months. If you’re in debt, set a goal to get back on track with your finances before the new year. If you simply want to keep moving forward on the progress you’ve made thus far, here are eight financial goals that can help guide you to firm financial footing:
#1: Calculate Your Net Worth
You can’t tackle debt, change your financial habits, or reach your goals without first knowing where you stand. Often, we let our debt and finances get out of control, ignoring how much we owe because we don’t want to know how much debt we’re in. However, if you truly want to reach your financial goals, it’s vital to know just how much you own and how much you owe – in other words, your “net worth.”
To determine your net worth, add up all of your debt (your liabilities), then add up the monetary values of all of your property, including equity in your home, vehicles, personal property, and bank accounts (your assets). Subtract your liabilities from your assets to determine your net worth. Once you’ve determined this figure, you can set realistic, detailed goals.
Don’t fret if your net worth is currently negative! It takes time to pay off debt and build wealth, so focus on the future instead of dwelling on your past mistakes.
#2: Get a Part-Time Job
One of the best ways to get serious about your finances and pay down debt is by making more money. Brainstorm ways you might be able to earn extra income, such as picking up an extra shift or two at work or adding a part-time job to your schedule on the weekends. The key is to be as disciplined as possible about putting this extra cash into your debt balance rather than using it to buy Christmas presents or to go on vacation.
#3: Sell Your Unwanted Personal Goods
You can also bring in more money by selling items that you already own but aren’t putting to use. Give yourself a definitive deadline and commit to going through your entire home, including your garage, shed, or storage unit, to collect unused and unwanted items. Sell them, and use the proceeds to pay down your loans. Alternatively, put the proceeds in a separate savings or investment account.
#4: Cut Back on Costs
Take a careful inventory of your expenses during the first part of the year and be honest with yourself about where you can cut back. Where did you spend too much? Give yourself the goal of aggressively cutting back on your spending in at least one area, such as eating out, and stick to your plan for the rest of the year.
#5: Set a Budget for Holiday Spending
Set a budget for your holiday spending. Before Black Friday and all of the Christmas and general holiday mania sets in, sit down and come up with exactly how much you can afford to spend on holiday gifts. The more detailed your budget, the better! The key is to stick to it, even when tempted by sales and online shopping.
#6: Build up Your Emergency Fund
An emergency fund is a pot of money you set aside for unexpected expenses, such as an illness, family emergency, car breakdown, or job loss. Building an emergency fund of three to six months of expenses is an ideal place to start. If your emergency fund is non-existent or paltry, commit to contributing even just a few dollars to it each month between now and the end of the year. Even if you can’t build it up enough to cover your expenses for that long, any additional amount helps.
#7: Go Cash-Only
Decide once and for all not to use your credit cards. Set a hard and fast rule for yourself that you will only use cash for the rest of the year and put your credit cards away and out of reach so you aren’t tempted to swipe away at your favorite stores.
#8: Involve Your Family
Changing your financial habits isn’t easy, but it helps immensely if everyone in your household, from your spouse to your children, is on board. Set a final quarter goal to discuss your financial goals with everyone in your family, educating them on your revised spending habits and intention to get out of debt. By doing so, everyone will know where the family stands and can do their part to contribute to reaching all of the goals you set forth in 2021 and beyond.
If you set and stick to a few of these goals in the last quarter of the year, you’ll likely be in a better financial position than you are today. However, if you still find yourself facing debt that seems insurmountable, there are other options. A debt relief company offers information on a debt settlement or debt consolidation program and can help you along the way if one of these options is indeed the best form of debt relief for you.
Want to talk more about the above tactics, give your financial advisor a call, and map out a plan. By all means let’s get moving, 2022 will be here before we know it!
Connect with Delta Jones-Walker and Atled Financial on Facebook, Twitter: @Atled_Financial and LinkedIn! To schedule a complimentary consultation or a presentation to your group or organization, call 219-513-3710 or email [email protected] and mention this column. Topic ideas for this column are welcome!
*Securities and advisory services offered through Woodbury Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Insurance services offered through Atled Financial Group 3801 Ridge Road, Highland, IN 46322, which is not affiliated with Woodbury Financial