Top 5 New Year’s Investing and Financial Goals
If you’re thinking of improving your financial well-being by getting out of debt, paying off your student loans, raising your credit score, and doing some retirement planning, then now would be a good time to start because 2019 is just around the corner. You need short-term goals, intermediate financial goals, and long-term goals to improve the quality of your life. Let’s take a look at some practical steps you can take in the coming year to set good financial goals.
5 INVESTING AND FINANCIAL GOALS TO ACCOMPLISH IN 2019
- Design a Realistic Budget to Improve Your Financial Situation
- Increase Your Retirement Contributions to Reach Your Personal Financial Goals
- Rebalance Your Portfolio for Better Financial Planning
- Consult with a Financial Advisor to Achieve Your Short and Long-Term Goals
- Upgrade Your Financial Literacy to Design Smart Goals and Create a Better Financial Future
If you could only do a few things to set meaningful short-term financial goals and realistic long-term financial goals in 2019, what areas of money management would you need to focus on? Let’s talk about five important financial planning goals you should consider.
1. Design a Realistic Budget to Improve Your Financial Situation
Many people assume that creating a budget is a way to start saving money and set financial goals. This is a limited way to think about budgets. A budget has the power to help you in many more ways.
While it may be reasonable to expect a budget to help you achieve long-term financial well-being, a good financial plan will also help you organize your personal finance so that you have far greater control of your earning, spending, saving, and investing. In fact, a skillfully prepared budget can even help you plan years ahead for your children’s education by reducing your current living expenses.
So how do you create a budget?
First, decide how you want to create a budget. What financial tools do you want to use? Do you prefer to use an Excel spreadsheet or an application? If you’re not sure, try out various options to see what works best for you. Some people even prefer to keep a budget in a notebook.
Next, figure out your fixed and variable expenses and your after-tax income. This is not easy, and it may take you a month of carefully recording your spending to figure out where your money goes. Pay close attention to your credit card debt and adjust accordingly.
Then, it’s time to choose your budget plan. A good budget should cover all your basic needs as well as many of your primary wants. In addition to a savings account, it should also include saving for future emergencies or unexpected investment opportunities by creating an emergency fund.
Finally, find ways to automate your budget management process and savings. This will ensure that your financial goal setting won’t go off the rails when you’re distracted by busy family life and a hectic work schedule. Fortunately, there are many online resources, as well as books and magazine articles, on how to follow each of these four steps in more detail.
Still, regardless of how well you may have executed these four steps, it’s unrealistic to expect that your budget won’t change. A budget is never static. Your income will fluctuate, your expenses will rise or fall, and your priorities will change. When this happens, don’t give up on your budget. Instead, be flexible. Adjust your budget to accommodate changes.
If you can’t balance your budget, then you may be either underearning or overspending. If you’re underearning, then look for some passive income opportunities to improve your cash flow. If you’re overspending, then figure out why this is happening and adjust as necessary. For instance, you might be buying things that you don’t need or living in an expensive city. If your cost of living is more than you can afford, then you may even want to consider the idea of moving to a less expensive city or state.
2. Increase Your Retirement Contributions to Reach Your Personal Financial Goals
The easiest way to plan for your retirement is to enroll in your company’s retirement 401 (k) plan. A professional investment group will take care of your investments for you. Speak to your company’s human resource personnel to get started.
In addition to the convenience of relying on institutional financial investors do the research and investing for you, a 401 (k) plan allows you to benefit from your employer’s matching funds. So, contribute as much as you can afford to this retirement plan. If, for example, your employer offers a 50% match, then contribute at least 5% of your income. If, say, you’re earning $50,000 a year, then contribute $2,500. In response, your employer will give you an extra $1,250. This is free money—money that you did not have to work overtime to earn.
In addition to a 401 (k) plan, you can also grow your retirement funds by putting some of your money in a low-risk mutual fund. Also, consider investing in Treasury bills, which are considered the safest type of investments.
3. Rebalance Your Portfolio for Better Financial Planning
The downside of every investment it that it has some risk, but the upside is that the more risk you can carry, the higher the reward. And one way to mitigate risk is by investing in more than one asset.
If you are investing in stocks, then you can reduce risk by diversifying your stock portfolio. Generally, a diversified portfolio balances out your risk– because when one stock is falling another might be rising.
Although you may feel that you are not getting ahead if the profit from your good stocks gets canceled out by your losses in bad stocks, the composite value of your stocks will increase over time. In addition, of course, you can actively prune out disappointing companies and buy more shares in good companies.
Here are a few tips for balancing your portfolio:
- Buy individual stocks in different industries
- Consider investing in precious metals
- Buy an index fund
- Buy an exchange-traded fund (ETF)
Other ways to diversify include trying out different types of investments. For instance, you can start trading in new financial markets like FOREX.
4. Consult with a Financial Advisor to Achieve Your Short and Long-Term Goals
A financial planner is a professional who will help you with your financial planning, set goals, and plan for retirement. A financial analyst goals chart will help you figure out how to save and invest your money to reach your financial goal. He or she will not only give you a big picture view of your money but also help you get a better understanding of what assets to consider for growing your money.
Don’t make the mistake of confusing a planner with a stockbroker or an accountant or some other type of financial professionals. While anyone can call themselves an advisor or a planner in their marketing literature or advertisements, you have to understand the difference between different types of financial advisors.
Look for a Certified Financial Planner, or a CFP. These professionals are in the financial goals business because they have passed the Certified Board of Standards and take continuing education classes to develop financial goals. They have a professional obligation to run an ethical business, provide realistic financial plan goals for clients, and help clients with the process of setting financial goals.
Before hiring a financial planner, make sure that they are a fiduciary, which means that they have pledged to act in your best interests as a client. Also, run a background check and ask them if their credentials are current.
When looking for a financial advisor, it’s easy to be duped by unethical people who brag about beating the market. Some may even use a fictitious financial goals example to convince you to follow their guidance.
You can find a CFP through National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) or Garrett Planning Network. Although the people you will find here have already been vetted, it’s still worth making the effort to do your due diligence.
5. Upgrade Your Financial Literacy to Design Smart Goals and Create a Better Financial Future
Last, but not least, improve your financial literacy. You may, of course, know far more than the average person about financial management and how to build your wealth, but there is always more to learn. Smart people are humble enough to realize that they don’t know what they don’t know.
There are many ways to improve your financial literacy:
- Use U.S. government resources like MyMoney.gov
- Take a few finance classes online or at a community college
- Read some of the top books in the financial field. Prefer classics and academic books rather than select by best-seller status
- Read reputable financial newspapers, magazines, and blogs
- Research financial literacy websites online
- Listen to financial literacy podcasts and radio show
- Join an investors community that provides financial conferences
- Buy the financial tools you need, ranging from financial calculators to money management apps
What are Smart Financial Goals?
Wealthy people are often able to reach their financial goals because they know how to set S.M.A.R.T financial goals, which stands for “specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely goals.” Fortunately, this goal setting skill is something that anyone can learn.
Once you learn how to set smart financial goals, then you’re well on your way to achieving your list of financial goals for 2019. It doesn’t matter what types of goals you’re interested in—personal financial goals, business financial goals, or financial career goals— with the right planning, you’ll be able to achieve any type of financial goal.
Personal financial goals and financial business goals can be achieved through budgeting, by growing your money through a 401 (k) and by rebalancing your portfolio. You can also achieve your financial goals list by improving your education about money by consulting with a certified financial planner and broadening the scope of your financial literacy.