Make A Change: 8 Financial Questions To Ask Yourself Before 2012 Begins!
1. How can I pay off my debt?
Everyone wants to get out of debt………don’t you? While debt can be a good way to get whatever you want without waiting too long, most people can’t wait to get rid of it. So, for most people, getting out of debt is a common New Years’ resolution target. You’re not going to get out of debt overnight, but you will get there a lot quicker by being honest with yourself and proactively outlining a strategy.
- You need to have a specific and realistic plan. Don’t just say “I will get out of debt,” take action and map out a plan for accomplishing your goals.
- Make a budget. Figure out which debts are costing you the most money, and make them the first you get rid of.
- Identify problems with your spending and figure out how you’re going to avoid common spending mistakes.
- Consolidate your loans and draft up a reasonable plan. You’re not going to get out of debt overnight, but you will get there a lot quicker by being honest with yourself and proactively outlining a strategy.
2. What can I do to make the most of my paycheck or salary?
You must ask yourself whether or not you’re making the most of your paycheck. Scrutinize your salary deductions to make sure you’re not being robbed and the right taxes are being withheld? Are you taking advantage of your employer offers or benefits? Are you using direct deposit or standing orders to make the amount you have to spend less tempting? Has anything changed since 2011? Spend a few minutes to make sure you’re making the most with what you work so hard for, and you might be laughing next year end.
3. How am I going to spend my money in 2012, what are my financial goals?
Put your finances in order by anticipating your future income and expenditures. Take stock of how you spent your money over the past year. If your stock taking looks good, keep it. If you hate what you see, drop it, time for a change, and try to predict how those patterns will change in the next twelve months. Are you planning on buying a house? Is your car getting older and will it need more repairs, or will you need a new car? Did your cable bill or light bill go up over the last year, what can you do about it? Figuring out daily, monthly, and surprise expenses will help shape your savings plan and goes a long way to shape up your overall finances.
4. Should I tithe or trust 10% of my money or more with God?
The answer to this is yes. Even persons who are not religious tithe. As a matter of fact, some successful business owners admit that their business started booming after they started tithing or taking part in a christian outreach program. Why is that? Well, whatever leaves your hand never leaves your life. It goes back into your future and multiples. This is the best kept ‘money back guaranteed’ secret. Prove it for yourself. A Dallas Cowboy gave $1 million USD to T.D. Jakes Ministries. Why would he do that? Because he has it? Think again. Beyonce gave $1 million USD to help the people of Haiti? People out there know the principle works, and it does.
5. Am I choosing the best way to save my money?
It is always important to look at how you’re saving your money, whether or not you have a debt. Do you have more cash than you’ll need in 2012 sitting unused in a checking account? Think about what you’re saving for – factoring in those upcoming expenses and debts to be paid – and define the timelines for the sums you want to be saving. Examine the rates for money market accounts and CDs at your bank, or think about investing some of those savings in a mutual fund that accounts for your risk tolerance. You want your savings to outpace inflation, so put your dollars to work in a way that fits your plans. Saving will make a huge difference in your financial success.
6. Do I have the right people managing my money?
This one is a big one; you have to be really careful here. Your savings and future plans will not come to life without proper investing. A big part of that puzzle is figuring out who you want to manage your money. Make sure you put your money in the hands of people who have your best interest in mind. Good rule of thumb: Self-praise is no recommendation, people or institutions will always say good things about themselves. Do your own homework; listen for what others are saying about them. Are they registered with all the financial regulatory agencies necessary? Is the company operating at a profit or loss? Is your deposit insured? What are the penalties for withdrawing your money? What are the fees that could affect your investment? These are only some of the possible questions you should get answered.
7. Should I have a will or beneficiary or add someone trustworthy to my bank accounts?
Nobody wants to talk about this one, and that’s why it is often not mentioned. But here’s the reality, it’s important to plan for the future by laying out a will or beneficiary plan in the event of your death. We all want to live forever, but it’s best to have a plan in place in case we don’t. Save your loved ones headaches and heartaches by clearly outlining what should happen with your assets if you pass away, and add a beneficiary to your accounts.
8. When do you want to retire?
Now wait a minute……….do you want to work forever? Once you start working, it’s time to start thinking about your retirement. The sooner young professionals start saving and planning, the earlier they’ll be able to retire comfortably. Not only that, but having an idea of when you want to retire – whether it’s next year or in half a century – will help you align your accounts and portfolios to your financial goals. Every financial situation is different, but knowing when you want to cross the goal line is critically important to having a stable plan for 2012 and beyond. Retire early and spend your time doing what you enjoy most (hopefully something worthwhile).
Resolution: Stay on top of your finances in 2012 and beyond. Happy New Year.