Another year is in the books. They really do seem to fly by faster every year I turn older.
I used to take the end of the year as a time to reflect on the year, and make a few bigger resolutions for the New Year. But at 30, I think I have the big things fairly dialed in. Don’t get me wrong, there are still probably a million things I could improve on, but I think I have the big things decently taken care of.
I still have a few professional and personal “goals” that I’ll definitely work towards in 2019, but I won’t define the year as being a success or failure based off achieving them.
What has helped me allocate more time to fitness, personal, and professional goals, has been getting the financial headaches taken care of so that they don’t take up too much bandwidth.
Here are a few tips, that I’ve used to help make the New Year less stressful from a financial planning perspective.
- Set up automatic retirement contributions – At a minimum, set your 401k contribution to receive the full match. Set up automatic contributions to your Roth or traditional IRA as well. If you have additional means, max both these out.
- Set up automatic health savings contributions – If you have a high deductible, health insurance plan, then make sure to set up automatic contributions to your HSA.
- Keep that liquid emergency fund at 3 to 6 months of expenses.
- Start contribution to an “FU” fund – Spouse potentially wants to quit their job and start a business? Want to take 3 months off to travel? Want to tell that tyrannical boss to shove it? Start saving for it now, with automatic transfers from your checking account to savings.
- Start tracking your net worth – Do it annually, do it quarterly, do whatever works for you. Take all your assets (checking, savings, 401k, IRA, HSA, house) and subtract your debt (mortgage, student loans, credit cards) – this is your net worth (NOT self worth). Even if it doesn’t seem like you’re making any headwind financially, tracking your net worth over time will show you how powerful regular savings and compound interest is.
Now if you need a big change, here are some tougher items to take head-on in 2019:
- Ask for that raise you deserve – Get your income in line with market rates for your experience and abilities. It might require interviewing at other companies (see below).
- Interview for other jobs – Get into that job/career you would enjoy doing day-in and day-out. Or get away from that soul-sucking job. Life is short.
In 2019, get your finances on autopilot and you’ll have time to spend on the things in life that truly matter. Happy New Year!