Define Your Baseline
A new year is a great time to take a financial inventory. Starting with a clear picture of where your finances stand at the beginning of a new year is a key part of setting goals for the next 365 days. Whether you’re looking to accumulate savings for college, pay down debt, or renovate your kitchen, knowing your full financial breakdown is the best starting point.
Use paper or a spreadsheet to identify the following financial items and your balances for each:
- Checking Accounts
- Savings Accounts
- Loan Debt
- Credit Card Debt
- Retirement Savings
- Real Estate Assets
- Other Assets
Assess Your Situation
Now that you’ve gathered an overview of your financial life and you’re aware of where you stand, ask these five questions to kickstart the planning process. If you’re in a relationship, consider planning a date night to look at these questions together and set goals as a couple for your situation.
- Where do I want my finances to be by mid-year? Setting achievable short-term goals helps to build momentum for yearlong goals or serves as a checkpoint toward a larger aspiration.
- What goals could I accomplish by year-end? Dream big! A year is a long time and with careful planning you could significantly change your financial picture by December.
- Should I prioritize debt repayment or saving? As you set goals for the future, think about these two items and choose where you will focus the majority of your excess money.
- Could I cover an emergency expense? Our experts recommend having at least $1,000 on hand, ideally 3-6 months of income in a dedicated savings account.
- What financial resources should I take advantage of? Explore the “Advice” section of our website for dozens of articles about trending money-focused topics.
Find Your Focus
Now, it’s time to determine which area of your life could use a reset. Consider a focus on finances, improvements, or wellness... or maybe pay some attention to each of them. We’re here to guide you along the way!
Focus on Finances
Get your finances on track and save for important milestones.
- Pay off high-interest debt
- Create an emergency savings account
- Invest for your retirement
- Save for educational expenses
Focus on Improvements
Proactively improve parts of your life that support your goals.
- Save for a large purchase such as a home or car
- Pay for a professional designation or certification
- Consider a second job on the side with specific savings goals in mind
- Complete home renovations/upgrades adding value
- Find a trusted Financial Advisor
Focus on Wellness
Find ways to improve your day-to-day wellness, leading to a better financial life.
- Budget for a vacation to re-energize
- Find a de-stressing outlet
- Invest in your health and fitness
- Donate money or time to a cause you care about
Kickoff Your Reset
Once you’re ready to get started, consider these tips to set your plans in motion:
- Complete a no-spend month and challenge yourself to only pay bills, do free activities, and eat food you have already purchased.
- Write down your financial, improvements and wellness-focused goals and share with a friend or family member.
- Meet with your Relationship Manager for a complimentary financial review.
Have questions or need trusted advice? Our credit union experts are always here for you. Contact Elements Financial for support in all aspects of your financial life.
This information is provided for informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal, tax or financial advice. Consult with your tax, legal or financial adviser before taking any action.