The stats around financial fitness in this country are alarming. Most Americans have way too little if no money saved for retirement. Credit card debt and auto loans issued are at record highs. Savings rates are pitiful. The new year is a great time to take a look at your finances.
Nearly everyone is faced with desperate times in their lives. If you had a tough year dealing with financial hardships, unemployment, and personal issues which may lead to a financial challenge, you could use your time to reflect and make changes in your life at the time of the new year. Then again, 80% of resolutions fail within weeks, and those that make it beyond February often fail within months.
Manage your finances: If you are facing financial difficulties from loss of employment last year, credit card debt, medical bills and unexpected expenses, use your time to plan a way out of your situation and regain financial security. Commit to living within your means this new year, saving money, and paying yourself first.
Our blog has countless stats and information on people who live way beyond their means, spend money to try to keep up with the Jones, and are really reckless when it comes to their finances. Sadly the vast majority of Americans live this way as all the stats show. More information on getting free financial counseling.
Employment: If you are disabled or injured, there are many work from home jobs that can provide a source of income. Or if you are out of work, the job market is booming and is the strongest it has been in 50 to 60 years according to most experts and historical stats.
If you are a working low-income family that cannot seem to make ends meet, you can supplement your income or learn a new skill to increase your earnings. If you are unemployed, use your time at the start of the new year to work on your resume. If you are employed and struggling, look for opportunities within the company and apply for higher paying positions. Find details on employment opportunities.
Live simply: As we write about, live within your means and commit to it during the new year! Save money, pay yourself first, and stop spending recklessly. Whether you start saving $5 a week or $50 a month, that is fine. Take “baby steps” if needed. Small changes make a difference. And even saving a few bucks per week adds up over time. More information on saving money.
Be grateful: This is related to living simply. Be kind, considerate, and thoughtful of others this new year. Life is not about material possessions. If someone does anything for you, no matter how small, say thank you. If someone gets you something this new year (or gave you something for Xmas), be sure you said thank you…and if you didn’t’, the new year is not too late to go back and do that. Whether it is holding a door open or a server at a restaurant or anything…be kind and thankful.
Instead of needing a big screen TV, go for a walk in nature this new year. Instead of needing new expensive clothes, appreciate what you have now. Be grateful for a simple, healthy meal and you do not need some costly food. Be kind, thankful, grateful, and all of those other words this new year!
Relationships: Your personal relationships will sometimes impact your finances, career, mood and motivation. It can greatly impact your spending and finances too. If you are unhappy or living with an abusive partner or someone who likes to spend money and manage their finances recklessly, rethink your relationship. Find someone that compliments your personality, motivates you career wise and in other ways, spending wise, and challenge you to become a better person. This will lead to personal, financial and professional success.
The people we associate with also have a large impact on our lives. For instance, if your friends enjoy drinking, partying and living above their means, it might be time to rethink your friendship and the people you spend your free time with. Keep those that will give you a boost whenever needed, and that encourage you professionally to do better.
Health: Poor eating habits and lack of exercise can contribute to illness, resulting in missed income and work as well as higher health care costs. If this has frequently happened throughout the year, make changes to improve your diet by avoiding excess sugar, cutting down on junk food and replacing snacks with healthier alternatives this new year.
Cooking your own meal at home will give you full control over the ingredients you put into your body while cutting down on food expenses. Another option to stay healthy is through regular exercise, much of what can be done for free. The Department of Health recommends 150 minutes of exercise per week. In addition to a healthy diet and exercise this new year, it also helps to get enough sleep each night.
A healthy lifestyle will you cope better with stress, mental challenges, improve mood and work performance, which will increase the likelihood of getting a promotion, a better job, and a stable income. It can help you maybe make better financial decisions.
The fact is the economy is stronger than it has been in decades. Now is the time, this new year, to get your finances in order. As who knows, the next recession may be just around the corner, and if it is, you will be kicking yourself that you did not pay down debts, save, etc. now when you had the chance.
Much of getting your finances in order this new year touches upon what we wrote above…employment, live simply, grateful, budgeting/managing finances. Then again, stats show that 80% of New Years resolutions fail by February according to US News and World Report as well as other studies.