Review Your New Year’s GoalsFinancial resolutions were anticipated to be at an all-time low in 2018, according to the Fidelity Investments New Year Financial Resolution Study, due to people having an overall increased feeling of financial well-being compared to several years ago. However, after completing the study for four years in a row, the data reveal that people who set financial resolutions feel more optimistic, more debt-free, and more financially secure than those who don’t.
Look back over the financial goals that you set at the first of the year and celebrate your successes thus far. If you set the goal of having $1,000 saved for a down payment on a new car by December and have been putting away $100 or more each month, give yourself a big pat on the back for making it past the halfway point. Celebrating your successes can keep you motivated to achieve your current goals and can inspire you to set new ones.
If you have yet to begin working on those New Year’s goals, now is the time to start. You still have six months left in the year to accomplish them or to at least make substantial progress toward completing them. Rather than getting discouraged, reevaluate the goal to see if it is feasible to complete in this calendar year. You may decide that you need to adjust the goal or split it into smaller short-term goals, that can be more quickly accomplished.
Grow Your SavingsSometimes the simple act of starting to put away a small amount of money each paycheck can spur bigger savings growth. If you set a goal to save a portion of your earnings each paycheck and have followed through, consider upping the amount during the latter half of this year. You may find that you don’t miss it as much as you anticipated. This is also an excellent time to evaluate your retirement savings. Before the rush of the holidays are once again upon us, take time meet with a trusted advisor who can help you plan for the future. Finally, make sure you are maximizing your savings, by putting money into the types of accounts that can provide you with the most interest.
Claim You Free Credit ReportShirk the temptation to ignore the elephant in the room: credit. Being informed about your credit report is the first step in improving a poor score or maintaining a good one. Each of the three major credit bureaus will provide you with one free credit report per year, and you can claim these reports at AnnualCreditReport.com. Rather than pulling all three at once, put a reminder in your calendar to pull one report every three to four months, and you’ll be able to monitor your score and track your progress throughout the year. When assessing your credit situation, think about ways to pay off existing loan and credit card debt which will lower your debt-to-income ratio. Also, check for any discrepancies and dispute any errors immediately so they can be investigated by the credit reporting company.
Stick to Your BudgetAs the summer heat sets in, you may find your budget taking a vacation. Take time to go over your monthly budget, and make adjustments as needed to account for increased travel, kids’ activities, and other mid-year purchases. Identify spending leaks that may have sprung with the warmer weather like eating out more often or not being energy efficient at home. Look for areas where you can cut expenses in order to have more money saved for your upcoming vacations, summer childcare, or the impending back-to-school shopping.
Whether or not your finances passed the mid-year check-up with flying colors or not, kudos to you for taking the time to assess them. Remaining aware of your financial situation and the progress that you are making (or are not making) toward achieving your goals is a crucial aspect in reaching your desired level of financial comfort. Identify areas that need extra attention and make small goals to improve them by the end of the year.