The 12 Days of New Year’s Resolutions
I’m spending 12 days posting ideas for new year’s resolutions you might like to choose for yourself. Each day focuses on a different life area.
Remember: go for progress, not perfection.
Following is an edited extract from the introduction to Module 9: Money & Finance in Get Organized Wizard for Smart Women.
Day 9: Organize your Money & Finance
Most of us know what we should do to take charge of our financial lives. Depending on the individual situation it could be some or all of these: reduce debt, save more, invest wisely, review investment strategy, keep good records, create and stick to a budget, get the insurance you need, firm up money knowledge, or find decent financial advisors.
The stumbling block for many of us isn’t knowing what to do, but getting organized – preparing and taking the steps to manage our finances.
That’s exactly what these suggestions are designed to do. They’re not meant to give you advice, but to help you organize the steps you believe are right for you in managing your financial goals and future.
- Outstanding debts
For many people reducing debt is the first phase of a financial plan. Consider cancelling credit cards, ordering debt by interest charge, and debt consolidation.
- Paying bills on time
Do you need to organize strategies for reducing excessive interest – like diarizing due dates, using online banking/auto-pay, paying full credit card balances, and increasing loan repayments?
- Reducing expenses
Start by listing expenses. Then you can choose which amounts you want to reduce, and tick them off as you cut down.
Day-to-day financial management
- Financial records
It’s difficult to feel on top of your finances if your financial paperwork is a mess. Resolve to set up a personal system for your financial records and to file your documents.
Set up a simple monthly budget. Include categories like : Home, Motor, Children, Insurance, Transport, Food, Personal, Health, & Leisure. Fill in ‘Planned’ now, and ‘Actual’ at month-end.
- Financial system
Perhaps you want to streamline your financial life. Consider cancelling credit cards and consolidating accounts – including bank, retirement, debt and investment accounts.
Protecting your family, your assets and yourself (insurance)
- Life, health, income
Time to take stock of your insurance? Do you have adequate life insurance? Health/medical? Disability? Income protection? What other insurance do you need?
Are your assets adequately protected against loss/damage? Consider insurance for your home, possessions, car, boat, business, and other assets you want to insure.
Think about general measures for increasing the security of your home, business, assets, and health, as well as protecting yourself against theft and fraud.
There are contingencies we avoid thinking about – but it’s wise to be prepared. Consider wills, living wills, powers of attorney & other matters to discuss with your solicitor.
Advisers & knowledge
- Financial advisers
Is it time to review your accountant, tax agent, bank manager, insurer and stock broker?
- Financial knowledge
What areas of financial knowledge do you want to improve – general, tax, investment, debt-reduction, accounting, or financial planning? Get organized and get smart!
Question: What area of Money & Finance will you work on in 2009?
Note for users of Money & Finance Wizard and Get Organized Wizard for Smart Women
Your Wizard contains guided worksheets for each one of these items, plus others, as well as additional prompts, ideas and suggestions to help you organize each one.
Tomorrow – Day 10: Relationships
Picture adapted from image by Aldon.