It’s not surprising the New Year often includes resolutions. It is a great time to clean the slate and start anew. If you’re set on creating a prosperous, safe 2020, consider these tips.
Create Meaningful Resolutions
Saving more money is one of the top five New Year’s resolutions each year and with good reason. It’s hard to create the life you want when you can’t cover the basics.
However, saving more money is a very broad resolution and it won’t mean anything unless you align it with your priorities, goals, and dreams. In other words, consider how you want the money to work for you, rather than just the money itself.
For instance, you may want to save money to go to college, buy a car, or to take a well-deserved vacation. Always identify how the money will benefit your life.
Pay Down Debt
If you carry a heavy credit card debt burden, paying it off should be your first priority. The high interest rates on credit cards make it almost impossible to save. You’re too busy just trying to make your monthly payments.
Once you free yourself from debt, you’ll already be an expert money manager. You’ll reach your savings goals much quicker than you could have imagined.
Create a Budget
Most of us groan when we hear the word “budget”. It conjures up visions of drudgery and boredom. Luckily, creating a budget needn’t be like that and having one is the best way to create realistic money resolutions. You can probably prepare one in less than half an hour using this online tool.
So, why bother? It will give you precise information regarding how much money you can realistically save after expenses. If you want to save more, you’ll need to earn more money or spend less.
Set Concrete Goals
Now that you know what you want to save for and how much you can afford to stash away, you’ll need to figure out how you’ll do it.
Set very specific savings goals. As an example, you may want to save $3,000 for a trip to Hawaii next January. This may seem a challenging amount, but you think you can swing it.
Break the big goal down into smaller increments. Try to save $250 per month or $58 per week instead of the large final sum. Achieving smaller goals provides you with a sense of accomplishment which fuels your efforts. Track your results and stick to your timeline.
Automatically bank your money so you never have a chance to spend it. Some people arrange to have a portion of their check automatically transferred to a 401(k). Others manually deduct ten percent from their earnings and put it a hard to access savings account where they must visit their bank to withdraw it. Either way, if you stash it away you’re far less likely to spend it.
Staying Safe in 2020
Take Stock of Belongings
Most people severely underestimate the value of their belongings, because it’s difficult to remember everything they’ve bought over many years. Plus, you may dispose of some items and upgrade others.
As a result, preparing a home inventory is one of the best ways to keep your belongings safe in 2020. It helps approximate value and speed the claims process if you ever need to file an insurance claim.
Care For Your Home
Whether you rent or own, your home is your sanctuary with all your belongings. A local insurance agent can help you find the best possible coverage to protect these things against perils such as fire, theft, vandalism, and flooding. They’ll also reassess the value of your home to avoid insurance gaps.
Installing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, a home security system, or other safety features can keep your home safer and lead to insurance discounts as well.
Create an emergency escape plan and practice it regularly. Stock emergency items such as a first aid kit and medicine and create a list of emergency numbers you can easily access, if needed.
Protect Your Identity
Hackers consider your personally identifiable information a valuable commodity. Your Social Security number, birthdate, telephone number, address, and other private information can be used for fraudulent activities and identity theft.
Don’t share your Social Security number with others unless it is directly related to banking or credit institutions or those reporting to the IRS. Use two-factor authentication whenever possible and keep as much private information off social media as possible. Set up credit alerts on credit cards and regularly monitor your credit files.
Be wary of public Wi-Fi when using applications that require personal information. Instead, use a virtual private network which encrypts traffic between your device and the VPN server. Install antivirus software on all devices. Mobile is especially susceptible to cybercriminals.
Absolutely do not use the same password for all applications and do not choose simple, predictable passwords such as your birthdate or “12345”. If you can’t remember all your passwords, consider a password manager instead. You may also want to consider a personal cyber insurance policy.