A new year is almost upon us—always a good time to look towards the future and recommit to past goals or create new ones especially when it comes to our personal finances.
Just in time to help with your goal-setting, here is a list of 12 simple steps you can take with your money in the new year:
1. Develop a habit of saving: It’s never too early or too late to start.
2. Build a budget that aligns with your values: Think about what makes you happy and then allocate your money accordingly.
3. Create a financial plan that reflects your most cherished goals: Think of it as a roadmap to happiness.
4. Invest the maximum amount that you can for retirement: You will need more money than you think.
5. Build and maintain a diversified investment portfolio: Don’t worry about finding the “best” investment.
6. Review your spending periodically to keep yourself on track: It’s the key to living within your means.
7. When it comes to investing, avoid the crowd … and tips from well-meaning friends and relatives.
8. Understand that volatility is a normal occurrence when investing in stocks: Keep a cool head and stick to your plan.
9. Know what your money is doing—look at your investment statements at least quarterly: Ignorance is bliss, but not when it comes to your finances.
10. Insurance protects you from the unexpected: It’s just smart to have enough.
11. Choose your advisors wisely: Find people you like, trust, and who will listen to you.
12. Spend on the things and experiences that make you happy: They make life worth living.
Challenge: Choose one of the simple steps as your New Year resolution for your finances and write a short (200–250 word) essay describing how you will put it into action. In return, you will receive a 12 Simple Steps to Financial Success 2012 desktop calendar (see here), and your essay may be included in a future blog post on “Of Independent Means.”
Happy New Year!