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December 26, 2023

As the new year approaches, it’s time to start thinking about your finances. Specifically, what does your current financial situation look like, and what goals do you want to accomplish? Having a clear plan can help you reach your savings goals, pay off debt, or build an emergency fund. And this is just a short list of what a detailed plan can do. 

If you don’t know where to start, here are some practical tips to get you moving in the right direction.


Establish financial goals

Set clear money goals for the coming year to kickstart your financial journey. This will inspire you to make meaningful progress. If you have big goals, like saving for a new home down payment, consider breaking them into smaller steps. This approach can make tackling your smaller goals feel less intimidating and give you the energy and focus to keep reaching the big goals.


Create a budget

Creating a budget is all about taking control of your finances for the year ahead. Look at your past financial statements to understand your spending patterns. When creating a new budget, make sure to account for all of your expenses. 

As a help for the new year, use budgeting tools or apps to track where your money is going. This lets you pinpoint where you may need to adjust to meet your financial goals, increasing your chances of success.


Pay down debt

Creating a debt-payoff plan is another key step toward organizing your finances. Start by determining how much extra you can allocate to monthly debt payments. Next, create a realistic repayment plan to start chipping away your debt and free up disposable income.

The debt snowball and avalanche methods are proven strategies to simplify debt repayment. With either, you continue to make the minimum monthly payments on all your debts. If you use the debt snowball, any extra funds you have go towards the debt with the smallest balance. Or you can focus on the debt costing you the most with the debt avalanche.


Build an emergency fund

Setting up an emergency fund gives you a safety net for those unexpected expenses. Set a practical savings goal, such as $500 to $1000. Then, increase it over time to save enough for 3 to 6 months of essential expenses. 

Even starting with a small amount can really boost your financial security. So, if you can only save a few dollars each week, remember that small gains can make a big difference over time. 

Review insurance policies

Take a moment to go over your health, home, auto, and life insurance policies to confirm they’re adequate. If you’re uncertain about any changes in your needs, contact your provider to discuss. 

Also, shop around to see if other companies are offering better rates. You might find more affordable premiums for adequate coverage, which means more money in your pocket. It's about getting the best coverage at a good price to feel secure about your financial future.


Refine your investment and retirement strategy

Check out your investment portfolio and think about the potential for rebalancing. Making adjustments to ensure your financial plan lines up with your long-term goals will help you maintain a steady course for your future. 

Also, to improve your retirement savings, increase your contributions. And consult a financial advisor for guidance on adjusting your investment strategy.


Update financial documents

Keep important financial documents, such as wills and trusts, secure but easily accessible. Regularly update these documents to clearly state your final wishes, giving you peace of mind and protecting against possible legal issues. 

The bottom line 

As you prepare for the new year, planning how to manage your money can pave the way for a brighter future. These tips will help you organize your finances and prepare for a prosperous new year. Take action to start creating a solid foundation now, and you’ll reap the rewards in the months to come.