5 Steps to Make 2019 Your Best Financial Year Ever
by Christy Bieber | April 22, 2019
Managing your money can be a challenge, but when you take control of your finances, you can achieve great things. If you're ready to make 2019 your best financial year ever, here are a few simple steps you can take right now to get yourself on the fast track to financial success.
1. Up your savings rate
Increasing the amount you save is one of the best things you can do to improve your current and future financial security. Saving more of your money and spending less of it means you can accomplish big goals a lot faster. If you boost your retirement savings, for example, you can make sure you're comfortable in your golden years. Or if you put more money toward saving for emergencies or a home down payment, you can get yourself closer to shielding yourself from life's up and downs or to living in your dream home.
You should ultimately aim to save at least 20% of your income, but if you can't get to that level this year, try to increase what you're saving by a small amount. If you were saving 7% of your income, try to save 9%. You can increase it again ever few months or ever year, and by slowly increasing your savings rate over time, you won't notice a big change to your standard of living.
2. Get serious about paying off debt
If you owe high-interest consumer debt, such as credit card debt, paying it off is vital so you can keep your money instead of wasting it on giving your creditors big interest payments.
Get a handle on your debt in 2019 by figuring out exactly how much you owe, deciding which debts you want to pay off, and implementing a debt payoff plan. This could mean paying extra money each month towards your debt with the lowest balance or the highest interest rate.
You could also take out a personal loan to pay off all your existing debts. By consolidating your debt this way, you could potentially lower your interest rate -- and could transform many debts into one big loan with a clear payoff schedule and fixed monthly payments.
3. Set some clear financial goals
To be successful with money in 2019, you need to define what financial success means to you. That means you need to set clear and measurable goals. You should be very specific in those goals. Don't just say you want to save a down payment, for example -- specify you want to save $1,000 a month for your down payment so you can have $50,000 saved in around four years.
If you have very clear goals with a set date, it's easier to stay on track towards achieving them -- and to monitor your progress so you can make any changes necessary to your financial objectives.
4. Find a budget you can stick to
Living on a budget is often key to using your money wisely, but some people find it hard to make budgeting work for them.
The good news is, there are different approaches you can try -- so make 2019 the year you experiment and find one that works for you. You could use a more general 50-30-20 budget and cap spending on needs at 50%, spending on wants at 30%, and savings at 20%. Or you could allocate every dollar and use an envelope system to limit your spending in particular categories.
Whichever approach you decide makes sense for you, just find some way to give your money a job and make sure you're spending it according to your values and priorities.
5. Make a plan to increase your income
Ultimately you can only cut spending so much, so increasing your income is the best way to make accomplishing your financial goals easier. Make a plan to boost the money you make by the end of 2019.
This may include taking some classes to improve your skills, looking for a new job, picking up a side gig, talking to your boss about overtime, or scheduling a conversation to ask for a raise. You'll need to decide which approach makes sense, but just find some way to be proactive about ending 2019 making more money.
These five steps can make a big difference in your financial future
Taking these five steps in 2019 can go a long way towards helping you get on a better path financially. If you do even one or two of these things, you're sure to end the year better off than when you started. Better yet, if you do them all, you'll be on the fast-track towards financial success and will build a foundation that will help you ensure your future is strong.
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