Saturday, December 28, 2013

How to Create Your Financial Roadmap for 2014


Develop commitments for 2014 instead of making New Year’s resolutions. Many times resolutions are forgotten about after January 31st.  By making commitments you will be more determined to achieve these goals because they will be things you want to achieve and need to achieve.  These commitment are things you can do throughout the year to improve your life.  

You can create one or more commitments you want to achieve for 2014.  Ideally try to create at least five commitments you plan to achieve in 2014.  You can meet all of your commitments by creating smaller goals for each commitment.  Once you achieve those, develop larger goals and develop a course of action to achieve them. Track your progress.  I develop a roadmap each year that is broken down into 6 month increments. I develop goals and a deadline for each goal.  Later I develop a course of action on how to achieve those goals. If I don’t meet a goal I just extend the deadline and add it to the next 6 month increment.

Make sure your commitments and goals are positive statements that will improve your life. A commitment should be similar to an affirmation, i.e. I will pay off my Visa bill by April 2014 instead of an uncertain or negative goal such as, and I hope I can pay off my Visa bill by April 2014.

One of the worst habits Americans have is getting into debt year after year.  Make 2014 your year to eliminate those bad spending habits and begin your path to financial freedom. Here are 12 Financial Commitments for 2014 that will improve your financial life, reduce stress, end fights regarding finances, and bring peace to your life.

  1. Consult a professional.  Contact a financial advisor or financial planner to help you determine your financial goals, where you want to live, the age you want to retire and the lifestyle you would like to have when you retire.
  2. Track. Track your spending for at least 14 days up to 30 days. Compare this with how much you earn, spend and owe.  Make adjustments the following month and rate yourself on the improvements you made. Continue to do this until you are able to effectively manage your finances. Pay with cash or your debit card instead of your credit card. 
  3. Bundle products. If you have multiple insurance products with different companies contact each company and get a quote for bundling your products. 
  4. Ask for discounts and specials. Companies always provide discounts or specials but do not always advertise them.  Every 3-6 months call each service provider and ask if they are offering any specials and what discounts they have available for the services you currently have.  Ask for competitor price matches.  
  5. Trim Spending. Buy needs more often than wants. Find ways to reduce expenses to help pay down your debts. Reduce spending by 30%. 
  6. Get insured. Make sure you have adequate health, auto, life, disability and long-term care insurance. Review policies and update your beneficiary information yearly. 
  7. Withholdings. Review your withholding status. Adjust as needed based on life events (death, divorce, birth of a child, adoption, new job, reduced benefits, new business venture, etc.) 
  8. Say no. Learn how to say no. Stop loaning money if you can’t afford. You cannot save the world. You must save yourself first. Even if you can afford it, the best way to help someone if to show them how to help themselves. Giving money only enables bad behavior.  
  9. Mindset. When spending money think about how it will affect your financial goals, your future, your family. If you buy a new pair of shoes that costs $200 how will that affect your family budget next week. Do this every time you spend money. This will help you to see how your spending impacts others. 
  10. Debt. Pay down debt. Get current on any late payments. Negotiate with creditors to setup or settle accounts. Pay more than the minimum monthly payment to pay down debt faster.  
  11. Risks. Avoid risky financial products such as payday loans, cash advances, advance credit or other risky financial products. These products cause you to owe more money than you originally did and make your financial situation worse. 
  12. Credit History. Order a copy of your credit report to check for any errors and unknown accounts that you owe. Fix any errors and setup payment plans for past due accounts. 

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