It’s 2018, and that means that most of you have made at least one New Year’s resolution. For most of you it will surround either diet or exercise, but for some of you getting your financial plan in order may rise to the top of the list. With the average American now surpassing more than $16,000 of household credit card debt, it may appear that feeling flush has left us spending out of control. In your smart money moves fashion, here are my ideas for a sticky 2018 financial New Year’s resolution that can help you grow your bottom line.
- Get Your Financial House In Order
- Set Up An Online Account Aggregation System – At oXYGen Financial, we have been using a personal financial dashboard for almost 10 years in helping our clients get their financial house in order. You can learn more about this by going to oXYGen Financial, but there are also other systems online including Mint and others that allow you aggregate your data
- Set Up An Online Safety Deposit Box- We also knew that electronic storage was going to be a big win for families because most of your financial information is still literally sitting in a filing cabinet. You can sit with our staff and we can help upload and organize all of your electronic files in one place. There are also other systems out there including Everplans where you can set up an online value as well.
- Balance Your Personal Family Budget
- Set Up A Family Profit (or Loss) Spending Plan – (We don’t want to use the “B” word for Budget) because budget seems to be such an ugly word. However, you need to treat your family finances like the way you run a profit and loss statement for your company. It’s important to recognize that no family has an infinite amount of revenue, so you need to determine the best ways to make your family more profitable.
- Goal: 50/30/20 Rule – (50% of cash flow to fixed expenses, 30% to variable expenses, 20% to savings) We used to discuss this mostly as the pay yourself rule, but it is also important to realize that the reason people live paycheck to paycheck is that they have lost transparency of their money. Consequently, they just don’t know which money really goes to fixed expenses and which are going to variable expenses. My outline here is good rough outline to determine if you are in the correct spending lanes.
- Get Down To Two Credit Cards
- Average family credit card debt now over $16,000- This is sobering statistics. The key with your resolution is to get down to two credit cards. (i.e. one amex and one visa (unless you have a business))
- Avoid store cards at all cost due to the interest rate that they charge you. The finance charges can run up to 29.99% if you aren’t careful to read the fine print.
- Increase Your Savings By Just 1%
- With the new tax law, you should see a 1% to 3% increase in your paycheck sometime in early March or even mid-February. You should act as if it happened right now, and set up online with your 401(k) plan now to increase your 401(k) savings by at least 1% or get the new maximum of $18,500. You could also set up a systematic savings plan into an investment account ($25 or $50 a month) more than you are doing today into a Roth IRA or a brokerage account as well.
- Take Advantage Of Free Money
- Coupon more with SnipSnap – This could be one of your easiest ways to save money by simply taking a snapshot of coupons you see and your phone will turn them into a mobile app. Even though coupons are more accessible than they have ever been before, people don’t take advantage of the free money
- Don’t forget to also reassess your overall frequent flyer points as you consider where you will take your 2018 trips or 2018 large purchases you need to make.
Is it time to start your 2018 resolution off to the right foot? E-mail us at [email protected] to get your financial plan done here in 2018.
Ted Jenkin, CFP®, AAMS®, AWMA®, CRPC®, CMFC®, CRPS®
Co-CEO and Founder oXYGen Financial, Inc.
Request a FREE no obligation consultation: www.oxygenfinancial.net
Ted Jenkin is a frequent guest columnist for the Wall Street Journal and Headline News Weekend Express. He is the co-CEO of oXYGen Financial. You can follow him on LinkedIn @ www.linkedin.com/in/theceoadvisor or on Twitter @tedjenkin.
Securities offered through Kestra Investment Services, LLC (Kestra IS), member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Kestra Advisory Services, LLC (Kestra AS), an affiliate of Kestra IS. oXYGen Financial is not affiliated with Kestra IS or Kestra AS. Kestra IS and Kestra AS do not provide tax or legal advice.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those held by Kestra Investment Services, LLC or Kestra Advisory Services, LLC. This is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual. It is suggested that you consult your financial professional, attorney, or tax advisor with regard to your individual situation.