If you’re always making New Year resolutions and struggling to keep them, here’s how you can break the habit. Start now so that by the time 2019 rolls around, you’ve already laid the foundation for a great financial year. What’s more, if you make an effort now, you’ll be more careful not to undo all your hard work next year.
Use the last two months of the year to take care of money matters so when the post-holiday season blues threaten to take over, your financial well-being isn’t at stake! Take a look at the 5 things you should strike off your checklist before New Year’s Eve to give 2019 a jump start.
Review Your Financial Goals
Instead of spending all of January hemming and hawing about your financial goals, set the ball rolling now. This way you have enough time to map out what you want to accomplish next year and can start working towards it on the very first day of the new year.
Make a beginning by reviewing what you have accomplished so far and realistically set monthly, or quarterly goals for the coming year. Take the time to break this down into smaller goals so that you have a schedule that’s ready to go. Also make sure that you learn from this year’s mistakes. This means studying decisions and goals that didn’t quite go the way you had intended them to, and coming up with a plan to do better next year. Thought you’d save Rs. 2 lakh by the end of the year but got distracted along the way? Maybe for the next year, you can set up monthly saving goals with built-in rewards for when you accomplish key milestones.
Revisit Your Budget
While you have made almost to the end of the year just fine, be prudent to check on your monthly expenses again. Maybe you can shift to a better Wi-Fi provider or share a Netflix subscription with your friend to split the cost. This will help you create more wiggle room without making any compromises. You can then use this amount to save and invest more. Also, if you’re currently dedicating only a small portion of your income towards these two heads, in the coming year you can amp up the amount by reworking your budget right away.
This can be exceptionally useful if you are closing in on your child’s wedding or overseas education, or your retirement years. It can also be equally helpful if you’re single. Think of the investments you can make for your parents, or finally being able to finance the solo backpacking trip you’ve always wanted to go on.
Strategise A Debt Repayment Plan
If you’re in the doldrums when it comes to debt, it pays to get a head start. Plan how you will clear it in the shortest span possible so that you don’t set foot into the new year feeling weighed down. As always, work off of a plan. Analyse the reason you’re in debt: Are your credit card bills piling up? Is your start-up not doing as well as you had thought it would? Do you keep losing track of EMI due dates? Once you have determined the reason for your accumulated debt, look at how you can tackle it. You want to do so soon, and as affordably as you can. So, it is worth your while to cut back on your expenses for a few months and maybe put other goals on the backburner. For example, if you’re saving for a home theatre system, stop, repay your debt first and then get back to saving for it. If you think your debt is unmanageable, take a consolidation loan to clear it immediately.
Going forward, make a checklist of things you should and shouldn’t do. For instance, set up automatic bill payments for your credit card, utility bills and EMIs. If possible, also consider cutting back on credit usage as a high debt utilisation ratio doesn’t bode well with your credit score!
Assess Your Investment Portfolio
Investments are a one-way ticket to a financially healthier life and help you combat inflation while savings don’t. If you’re all too aware of how sharply the cost of living is rising, it’s time to give investments your undivided attention. Start by checking the investments that you made this year. See how they have performed and balance your portfolio accordingly.
Also, factor in any big changes that will be taking place in the coming year. For instance, are you planning to get married or have a baby? Are your parents retiring? Such landmark occasions will have an impact on your financial responsibilities and you can tailor your investment portfolio accordingly. This way, when the time comes you will have the funds you need.
Make a list of things to do and get started. Roll up your sleeves now so that when 2019 arrives, you’re cool, calm and collected.
The writer is CEO, BankBazaar.
BankBazaar.com is a leading online marketplace in India that helps consumers compare and apply for credit card, personal loan, home loan, car loan, and insurance.