In this post we help you: Reduce the risk of starting the new year off on the wrong foot
It’s a new year, and that means a few things: we’re all changing our desk calendars, every website has a "best of 2014" article or two, and people everywhere are making New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, according to Forbes, 8% of people achieve their New Year’s resolutions. What makes resolutions so difficult? Many people focus on huge goals and either lose sight of small, tangible achievements or never make a realistic plan to begin with.
While we can’t make a plan for you, we can help you when it comes to planning out the specifics. Continue reading for advice on how to achieve all of your financial goals in 2015.
Resolution: Save Money
Saving money is a great goal, but it’s a lot harder than it might seem on the surface. You can start by taking a hard look at your monthly expenses. Recurring subscriptions can be a huge hidden drain on your budget. You can also save money on bills you can’t avoid, like your utilities. Cutting ten to twenty percent of your electricity bill can have a huge effect on your bottom line.
A money management app can help you decide what to cut and what to keep. Money management apps will identify trends and help you set a new budget. Some banks, like Simple Bank, have money management tools built in. Whatever tools you use, knowing where your money goes can have a huge impact on creating a budget.
Saving is different for everyone, and there are a lot of different ways to save. Our series of interviews with Super Savers is a great resource for looking at examples of how people implement the idea of "saving." Whether you have a specific goal in mind, like retirement or traveling the world, or you just want to be thrifty, our Super Savers will give you great tips and advice.
While you should never try to save money by cutting out insurance premiums, you can be smart about them. Check out our tips on how to find great insurance deals. You should also reevaluate your benefits package from your job. Are there freebies you’re not taking advantage of?
If you don’t have health insurance or your policy makes it hard to justify seeing a doctor for the sniffles, read our guide on cheap ways to get trustworthy medical advice. It shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg to treat your arms, legs, or any other part of your body.
Resolution: Better Job
Unhappy at your current job? Looking to make more money? There are a lot of reasons to look for a new job. Our list of 24 job search sites you should be using can help you look for something new, both actively and passively. Need some help standing out from the crowd? A new résumé might help.
Are you considering make the leap to self-employment? Kudos! Self-employment can make life a lot more complicated, but also much more rewarding. Check out our advice on the financial basics of self-employment.
Resolution: Get Covered
Insurance isn’t the most exciting New Year’s resolution, but it is one of the most important. Consider insurance your safety net. Saving and investing money is great, but those long-term plans can be put on hold indefinitely by things like long-term disabilities, complex health issues, and other disasters. Insurance takes care of the financial end of those problems so you can focus on solving everything else.
Long-term disability (LTD) insurance is crucial for anyone with an income. Without LTD insurance, you could lose years worth of income while you recover from an injury or illness. About 25% of today’s 20-year-olds will experience a long-term disability in their lifetime. Choosing an LTD insurance policy can be complicated, but with our shopping advice, it can be done in five minutes.
Life insurance is another important insurance policy to get. You probably know why life insurance is important, and we don’t need to dwell on it, but it is important that you don’t procrastinate in getting a policy. In the past, we’ve written about the types of life insurance out there and the most common mistakes shoppers make. With a solid life insurance policy in place, you can feel more comfortable moving into the new year.
Insurance can also help you take care of your body. Our guide to individual health insurance plans can help guide you through open enrollment, while our investigation into the differences between dental insurance and dental discount plans can help keep your choppers healthy and pearly white.
If you have pets, you should take a look at our Huffington Post piece "The biggest mistake 99% of pet owners make." Spoiler alert: it’s failing to buy pet insurance. Why is this such a mistake? Vet bills can be incredibly expensive, and as the technology for pet care gets better, the prices get higher. You shouldn’t have to choose between saving your pet or saving your wallet.
And to the renters out there - if you still don’t have renters insurance, make it your number one priority this year! Renters insurance is incredibly robust, and might surprise you as far as how much it covers. Check out our holiday-themed renters insurance stories to find out more about what renters insurance can do.
Resolution: Invest Strategically
Investing should be a part of everybody’s financial portfolio, whether you’re just starting your career or you’re only a few years from retirement. Starting young can have huge benefits later in life - every dollar you invest as a 20 year old will be worth seventeen dollars by the time you retire. That’s why we suggest that people start investing in their 20s.
Unfortunately, investing isn’t as simple as putting money into a savings account, and a lot of people are afraid of the inherent risk involved. While no one can guarantee returns on your investments, there are smart ways of investing that lower risk. Check out our article on tips for your first investment portfolio.
If you’re past your twenties and starting a family, you should look into our interview with Matt Becker, the writer of Mom and Dad Money. He started as a novice investor, but through reading and other research, he realized that investing could be simple and easy. The best of anything simple and easy is you have more to time to spend on the things that matter, like your family.
Just so you know, insurance is not an investment. A lot of people conflate the two, but if you think of insurance like an investment, you’re expecting the wrong things. Ideally, insurance never pays out, because nothing wrong ever happens. Expecting insurance to pay out more than you put in defeats the purpose. Some life insurance salespeople will try to convince you that life insurance is an investment, but don’t be fooled. Life insurance, or any insurance, should never be an investment.
Resolution: Improve Body & Mind
Alright, alright, we know it’s cliché, but a lot of people choose "getting healthy" or "losing weight" as their New Years Resolution. We made a list of nine podcasts that will help you eat well and stay fit. Full of advice, tips, and personality, committing to these podcasts may help you commit to an oft-abandoned resolution.
While you’re improving your body, you should improve your mind as well. And since we’re looking at podcasts, why don’t you check out our list of twenty-one podcasts to make you smarter. Challenging your brain helps you feel young and quick, no matter what your age. And the best part of these podcasts? You could listen to them at the gym and kill two birds with one stone.