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4 Financial Goals to Set This Year

Are you inspired to set self-improvement goals in the New Year? One area where small, meaningful improvements can be made is in your financial situation. When it comes to finances, tiny changes you make now can help to provide you with confidence for years and years in the future. If you’re strapped for ideas on specific financial goals you can set, here are a few tips!

1. Choose A Charitable Organization to Support

This is one of the most positive things you can do for yourself and your community in the new year. Our advice for choosing a nonprofit organization to support is to stick with causes that are closest to your heart. When you contribute to a cause you’re passionate about, you can be confident that you’re working toward making the world a better place. An important tip before you give generously to a charity: always be sure to assess its credibility. Check out ratings at Charity Navigator to confirm the legitimacy of the organization. 

2. Rate Your Discretionary Expenditures

Whether you call them indulgences, treats, or self-care, spending money on goods and services that make you happy or help to enhance your life is an important part of your full financial picture. Most of us fall into one of two categories when it comes to discretionary spending. Maybe you lean towards frugality or saving, and you have trouble setting aside money to spend on things that give you joy. Or you may be on the other side of the spectrum, with a constant stream of brown paper packages arriving on your doorstep. Whichever side you end up on, there’s a simple exercise that can help you budget for discretionary spending. 

First, list all the discretionary expenditures you tend to have over the course of the month. (Netflix, Amazon Prime, dinners out.) Then, rate them on a scale of importance. Consider how they enhance your life. Finally, put a star by the expenditures that contribute the most to your wellbeing. If you have more than three, consider cutting one or two of these expenditures and redirecting that money towards investments or charitable giving. If you only have one or two items starred, encourage yourself to budget a particular amount for spending on yourself and your family in the new year. Too many people believe that saving is inherently good and spending is inherently bad. Instead, it’s all about balance. Be prudent about your financial future while allowing yourself pleasurable experiences in the moment.

3. Level Up Your Financial Awareness

We’re all at different points on our financial journeys. Some of us are just beginning to be aware of our financial situations, while others have fully allocated every dollar that enters an account. Make a resolution this year to take a proactive next step towards financial wellbeing. If you don’t track your expenses, begin by downloading a budgeting app that helps you keep everything in one place. You can also simply track your daily expenses in a spreadsheet. 

The first step towards positive change is awareness, and tracking your expenses will go a long way in increasing your awareness. If you are a seasoned expense tracker, maybe your goal will be to divert just a little more money into a retirement account. Increasing the amount you put aside monthly to contribute can make a big difference, no matter how close to or far from retirement you are. That’s especially true if your employer will match your retirement contributions. If you feel confident about your retirement plan, and you’re ready to set new financial goals, maybe this is the year you look into estate planning or trust establishment.

4. Meet With An Experienced Financial Advisor

Finally, if you don’t yet have a financial advisor, this is the year you can prioritize that financial goal. While you can take a DIY approach to your finances, the details of some regulations, accounts, and investment strategies are your financial advisor’s expertise. It’s fine to change the oil in your car and maybe even do a few simple repairs, but major engine fixes require a professional. The same is true of your finances. If you have good financial habits, you can handle most of your day-to-day spending with ease. But for long-term planning, it can help to get an opinion from a financial advisor. Even if you intend to handle most of your investing yourself, bouncing ideas off a qualified professional can empower you to make more informed choices. 

Increase Your Financial Awareness with Southwestern Investment Group

If you need guidance understanding your complete financial picture this year, reach out to a financial advisor at Southwestern Investment Group. We can help provide an analysis of your income streams, investment accounts, assets, and more. While finances can be confusing, we’re happy to answer your financial questions to help you make informed choices about your future. Contact Southwestern Investment Group today to schedule a consultation.

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