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New year’s resolutions to improve your finances

As we have just started 2019, and the holidays are over, many people use this time to set goals to improve their finances in the year ahead. Setting aside money for savings can be stressful,  especially right after the holiday season where you may have spent more than you would have liked. However, establishing small savings goals can help prepare you and your family for the future, and to overcome some of the inevitable bumps in the road.

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According to a survey by Fidelity, a third of Americans set a financial resolution. Last year, those that set a financial resolution did about twice as well as those who didn’t, when it comes to paying down debt and being in a better financial situation than the previous year.

To improve your odds of being successful, your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound (SMART).

Here are a few ideas to help you along the way;

Boost your 401k

Review your contributions to your retirement plan at work. Make sure you at least contribute enough to get the full match from your employer, if one is offered. It usually requires you to contribute around 3-6% of your pay.

Did you receive a pay raise? If so, consider using a portion of it to increase your contribution to your retirement plan. That way, you will both get more money on pay day, and your 401k will grow a little faster.

While you are at it, make sure your beneficiaries are correct.

Pay yourself first

Set some money aside for a rainy day, or for one of your goals, and keep it out of sight.

Have a portion of your paycheck deposited directly into a savings or investment account. That way, you never see the money in your checking account, and are less likely to spend it. If needed for an emergency, the money is still available, but it will take an extra step to access it.

Even a small amount can make a big difference, if done consistently. You can start with $50 or $100 a month or paycheck, and then increase the amount if you have room in your monthly budget.

Automate

If you are like most, you will be motivated to pursue your resolutions in January. However, you might find that you will have lost some steam just a few months later. To not loose track of your goals, use the first burst of energy to automate as much of the process as you can, to make sure it gets done.

For example; set up automatic payments of your credit cards to avoid late fees and to pay down a balance if you have one; transfer funds to a savings or investment account on a regular basis; pay an extra $100 on top of your regular payment to pay off your loans faster.

Cut unnecessary expenses and fees

Review your bank and credit card statements for recurring expenses that you can cut with limited impact on your life. For example, streaming services you don’t use, a membership to a gym you use very infrequently, or reduce your cable bill by calling to negotiate a lower rate or give up the premium package.

Many banks allow you to set up free overdraft protection from a linked savings account. This will eliminate the risk of paying those exorbitant overdraft fees if you forgot to transfer funds to your checking account, to cover that one bill that only comes occasionally.

Get your professional team in place

It can be a great idea to assemble a team of financial professionals to help you out. The team can include a financial advisor, a CPA and maybe an estate attorney. Although these come at a cost, they can often pay for themselves by advising you of ways to further improve your financial life or save costs in other places.

Take your time to find the right people, and interview them before signing up for their services. Personality makes a big difference, as you want someone that you are comfortable working with, and who you can discuss tough issues with. The hope is to find a great long term relationship, where the goal is to build value over time.

 

If you have any questions, or would like some guidance, please feel free to reach out to Forty4 Financial.

This material is provided as a courtesy and for educational purposes only.  Please consult your investment professional, legal or tax advisor for specific information pertaining to your situation. All information contained herein is derived from sources deemed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed.  All economic and performance data is historical and not indicative of future results.  All views/opinions expressed in this newsletter are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views/opinions held by Advisory Services Network, LLC.
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Investing in Women and Equality

August 26th commemorates the 98th anniversary of the signing of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote. Gender equality has progressively been moving forward, even though there is still room for improvement. Women are still under-represented and under paid in the corporate world, although great strides are being made.

Forty4 Financial - Investing in Women.jpgStriving for equal opportunities for women and girls should be the norm in modern society. Although we are not there yet, it has shown to be a great investment opportunity.

Companies that have a higher share of women in executive positions and on their board, tend to deliver better financial results compared to male dominated companies. The outperformance is primarily contributed to the broader range of ideas and approaches to problem solving that a diverse group of decision makers have, as well as to better talent and employee management.

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Women holding positions at the top of companies does not happen by chance. Foresighted businesses have recognized the potential and are working to improve their pipeline of qualified candidates in management training programs.

Gender diversity in leading corporate roles is one of the screens employed in ESG and socially responsible investment approaches. By investing in this manner, you can achieve a potentially stronger portfolio, while at the same time supporting companies that do their part to offer everyone an equal opportunity.

If you have any questions about how you can align your investment portfolio with your values, please contact Forty4 Financial for more information.

All information contained herein is derived from sources deemed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed.  All economic and performance data is historical and not indicative of future results.  All views/opinions expressed in this newsletter are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views/opinions held by Advisory Services Network, LLC.