Monday, December 3, 2018
The Top 10 Money Goals for 2019
With one month left in 2018, many peoples minds have shifted in Christmas vacation mode. Bring on the fatty foods and copious amounts of booze. While everyone loves this time of year, I am going to pull back the reigns a little bit and get you to start thinking about next year. You see, I have been in 2019 mode since late October. I have been thinking about what I can do next year to make my life better. Obviously, a great way to start is with our finances. We all want more money, less debt if we have it, a nice place to live and a prosperous future. Let’s start taking some concrete steps towards that. I give you the Top 10 Money Goals you should have for 2019. I guarantee there is at least 2 or 3 that you can work on.
1) Make More Money
Simple, right? You may think it isn’t that simple. Kids get in the way. The job you have gets in the way. Family and friends get in the way. Where you live, or the economy might get in the way. If you take one thing from this post, please take this: ANYONE CAN MAKE MORE MONEY! Yes, that’s right, anyone. Pay attention to my Facebook page. I ALWAYS post when the banks report earnings. Why? Because every freaking quarter they break a new record. These multi-billion-dollar companies always make more than they did last week/month/year. How do they do it? They do it by finding innovative ways to take more of your money. If they can make a billion more each month, you can make a few hundred more, or save a few hundred more. I know people that have set up a teeth whitening business in their spare time. An arts and crafts business. Heck, I even get paid to write blogs now. Picking up one more shift, or 5 extra hours a week, or working hard to get that promotion might be what you need to get you over the top financially. Trust me, more money is better than less.
2) Implement a budget
It is my goal that everyone uses a budget. Why is this so important? Money is IMPORTANT. What is the most important money in the world? YOUR MONEY! You need to know where your money is at all times. You need to know where it is going and if it is leaking slowly, or quickly. You need to put purpose in your money. I know exactly when each bill comes out and I know exactly when each pay goes in. Like a freak, I check my accounts to make sure what was supposed to happen, happened. I set monthly budget goals, no-spend weeks, double up payments for bills, and other little tricks to make my money grow. This only occurs with a budget. It is literally Grade 2 math my friends. Put it all on paper and you will be surprised what you see.
3) Get in better shape
What does this have to do with my money? The first thing I mentioned was that we should all strive to make more money. Working more is obviously a key factor to accomplishing that. For some, including myself, working more requires being healthier. For me personally, health has always been a constant battle. I feel that I can only achieve what I want in life, including financial goals, if I get physically healthier. For most, it will be the added energy that propels them. For all, it will be the added confidence that drives them. I believe money and health are deeply intertwined, both mental and physical. If you work hard at both, you will be wealthy.
4) Build that emergency fund
I recently posted on social media that the one step of Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps that is useless to me is step 3. Step 3 is building an emergency fund that is 3-6 months. I stated that 3-6 months is nowhere near enough and I aim for 1 year. Whoa, some of the backlash I received. People were roasting me saying that no one needs that much or having that much is foolish or getting that much would be impossible. Here is the thing, everyone needs an emergency fund. How much yours is will be determined by your needs. Your primary need is your own comfort. My comfort dictates I NEED at least 1 years expenses. If you do not have an emergency fund, and stats show more than half of Canadians have less than $1000 in savings, you need to make a goal for 2019 to create one. Start by saving a little bit every paycheck. It will feel hopeless at first, but so did my first $1000 saved. Then my first $10,000 saved. Then $25,000. You get the picture.
5) Open a Tax-Free account
I don’t care who you are, you need a Tax-Free investment account. In Canada, it is our Tax-Free Savings Account or TFSA. For my brothers and sisters in the US, it’s the Roth IRA. This account is vitally important. Why you might ask? The answer is simple, it’s tax-free. There are so very few avenues in which you can invest your money and have the growth be tax-free. It also has the potential for you younger folks out there to be a solid retirement fund. Those of you under 30 could have over a million dollars in there by the time you are ready to retire. That is impressive. Get on it.
6) Get Life Insurance
Seriously get it. It is the most economical way to protect your loved ones. Firstly, the insurance dollar is always cheaper than your dollar. This means that you can, or more like your beneficiaries can get, a huge return on the money you invested in a policy. You put in $100 bucks, your family gets $500. Secondly, death is expensive. Beyond how absurd funeral costs have become, the taxes upon death are disturbingly high. Life insurance is always TAX-FREE to your beneficiaries. This makes it the most powerful way to leave money to the next generation. You ever wonder how wealthy families continually stay wealthy over hundreds of years. A huge part of it is life insurance. Protect your family, protect your home and protect your legacy.
7) Start an education fund
Another area where I have seen some backlash in the online world is the idea of education savings for children. Some people are dead set against it. One of the common threads is this one: “I had to pay for my education, so my kids should have to also.” Fair enough. I personally had to pay for my education as well. I also struggled during my school years and could barely afford to put food on the table. I personally don’t want anyone else to go through that, especially my loved ones. Furthermore, here in Canada, the government will actually give you grant money if you save for your child’s education. What is the best money there is? FREE MONEY! Here is an even better point. The money you save and invest grows tax-free and if your child doesn’t go to school, you can get your money back plus the growth. So where is the real loss here? I think helping your child at the time where they need it the most is the best gift you can give, but that is just me.
8) Improve your credit
Credit is a real female dog. Most of us are not in a position where we can fund the purchase of a home with cash, so we need at least decent credit. While I feel like credit should never be used a crutch, I also feel that good credit is a sign of something greater. How you obtain good credit is by doing all the things you should be doing to make your financial situation better anyway. Not having debt, making payments on time or early, not having multiple credit cards, managing your money properly. They all go a long way to making your credit better, but also your financial health in general. While I don’t look at credit as a beacon of my financial success, I do see it as a small part of keeping me on track. Furthermore, good credit gets you a better interest rate on a home, or even allows you to do it at all. It’s like an airbag, you never think about it until you need it and when you do, you are glad it’s there.
9) Start saving for retirement
While it might seem far away, it is really just around the corner. Getting rolling on saving for retirement savings should be everyone’s goal, no matter how young you are. Start off with a small contribution to a retirement account and make a vow to up it on a regular basis. If you are already saving for retirement, revisit your savings plan and see if you can enhance it. I always say that YOU choose the retirement you want to live or if you don’t, you will have no choice. I personally would rather choose how I spend my later years then rely solely on someone else (ie. the government), for my income.
10) Think about housing
If you own a home, crunch the numbers to see if you can pay it down sooner. If you don’t own a home, think about what it would take to get you into one. While I am not the type to say everyone needs to be a homeowner, I do think it is an integral part of most people’s financial plans. We all need somewhere to live and to make that expense as efficient as possible should be everyone’s goal. The key is to plan properly for it and eliminate the debt as soon as you can. Imagine you can be making mortgage-sized payments into your retirement account instead of using that for the housing. That is a mighty noble goal in my eyes.
I think we all have it in us to make 2019 the best money year yet. 2018 for me was but I am not satisfied with that one bit. Take this month to evaluate your year and see what you can improve on for next year. December’s are for reflection and regrouping. Let’s get rolling into January!
“People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going.” – Earl Nightingale
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