The new year is here, and now is the time to create financial goals to help you get on track and set yourself up for a more financially stable future. Sometimes, getting your finances organized can be a daunting task, but by setting a few yearly goals, it can be easier than you think. Start the year off right by getting started on the five financial goals listed below.
1. Draft a Monthly Budget
Even though this may seem like a common goal, many people find it hard to complete this task each month and stick to it. A monthly budget is the beginning of gaining better control of your finances, and the more detailed it is, the better. When creating your budget, make sure that every penny is accounted for, including savings, investments, clothing, food, entertainment, etc. It will not only help you realize how much you spend each month, but it will also help direct your focus to areas where you can improve and goals you can set for the extra money you may have when sticking to your budget.
2. Take Control of Your Debt
Debt can be one of the primary factors that can hold you back from financial success. Make a reasonable plan to reduce your debt and stick to it. You can start by determining a reasonable amount of debt that you would like to reduce for the year, making sure that the goal is attainable. Next, determine how much you will need to pay each month in order to reduce your debt by the goal amount. Finally, you will need to look at your budget and find a way to fit in this amount each month, even if it means cutting back on other areas of the budget. It is also important to make sure that you do not add any more debt throughout the year.
3. Make an Emergency Fund a Priority
Medical costs, major vehicle repairs, job layoffs, or house maintenance can quickly derail a budget. Make sure that you have a fund set up specifically to handle these unforeseen expenses, so you don't have to alter your monthly budget to accommodate. A good rule of thumb for an emergency fund is to start with a month’s income plus $1,000. Once this goal is achieved, you should keep saving until you have about six months of expenses. Set aside an amount each month in your budget to add to your emergency fund. If you need to use it for an emergency during the year, you will need to regrow it.
4. Prioritize Retirement Savings
Saving for retirement is something often put on the back burner until it is too late. The sooner you begin saving for retirement, the more time it will have to grow, and the better return you will have on your investment. Work with your financial advisor to determine what retirement savings vehicles may be best for you.
5. Create a Long-Term Financial Plan
Goals can be more difficult to set if you are having difficulty envisioning the rewards that will come with financial stability. Consider any long-term financial goals you may have, such as buying a house or retirement. Draft out a plan that includes savings, investing, and other ways to build the wealth you need to achieve these goals. You can start with smaller goals, so they seem less daunting. Having a plan in place will help you stay on track and guide your financial decisions.
Make this the year you take control of your finances and get on the right track to achieving your future goals. Consider the five financial goals listed above to help you get started.
As always, let us know if you have any questions.
Happy New Year!
CRA Investment Committee
Matt Reynolds CPA, CFP®
Tom Reynolds, CPA
Robert T. Martin, CFA, CFP®
Gordon Shearer Jr., CFP®
Jeff Hilliard, CFP®, CRPC®
Joe McCaffrey, CFP®
Important Disclosure Information
Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by CRA Financial, LLC [“CRA]), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this commentary will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this commentary serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from CRA. Please remember to contact CRA, in writing, if there are any changes in your personal/financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing/evaluating/revising our previous recommendations and/or services, or if you would like to impose, add, or to modify any reasonable restrictions to our investment advisory services. Unless, and until, you notify us, in writing, to the contrary, we shall continue to provide services as we do currently. CRA is neither a law firm, nor a certified public accounting firm, and no portion of the commentary content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of CRA’s current written Disclosure Brochure discussing our advisory services and fees continues to remain available upon request or at www.crafinancial.com. Please Note: If you are a CRA client, please advise us if you have not been receiving account statements (at least quarterly) from the account custodian.
Historical performance results for investment indices, benchmarks, and/or categories have been provided for general informational/comparison purposes only, and generally do not reflect the deduction of transaction and/or custodial charges, the deduction of an investment management fee, nor the impact of taxes, the incurrence of which would have the effect of decreasing historical performance results. It should not be assumed that your CRA account holdings correspond directly to any comparative indices or categories. Please Also Note: (1) performance results do not reflect the impact of taxes; (2) comparative benchmarks/indices may be more or less volatile than your CRA accounts; and, (3) a description of each comparative benchmark/index is available upon request.
Please Note: Limitations: Neither rankings and/or recognitions by unaffiliated rating services, publications, media, or other organizations, nor the achievement of any professional designation, certification, degree, or license, or any amount of prior experience or success, should be construed by a client or prospective client as a guarantee that he/she will experience a certain level of results if CRA is engaged, or continues to be engaged, to provide investment advisory services. Rankings published by magazines, and others, generally base their selections exclusively on information prepared and/or submitted by the recognized adviser. Rankings are generally limited to participating advisers (to the extent applicable). Unless expressly indicated to the contrary, CRA did not pay a fee to be included on any such ranking. No ranking or recognition should be construed as a current or past endorsement of CRA by any of its clients. ANY QUESTIONS: CRA’s Chief Compliance Officer remains available to address any questions regarding rankings and/or recognitions, including the criteria used for any reflected ranking.