With Spring in full swing, it’s time to dust off those winter cobwebs and get ready for the summer. As many of you do your annual spring cleaning around the house, make sure you also take some time to get your finances cleaned up and whipped into shape as well. There’s never a better time than now to take steps in the right direction with your financial life and set yourself up for a successful rest of the year. You don’t even need to make any drastic action to see measurable results. When it comes to setting short-term financial goals and creating healthy financial habits, it’s all about taking it one step at a time, so you avoid succumbing to frustration or giving up prematurely. To start your spring season off right, consider implementing one or more of our five financial goals for spring listed below.
Financial Goals for Spring #1: Build a Budget
Building a budget is easily the most important financial goals for spring. While most people would say they have some framework or budget in place to manage their monthly expenditures, very few have sat down to create a detailed picture of it all.
When it comes to budgeting and adhering to it successfully, the trick is not to over-complicate it. If you get too thick in the weeds, you can quickly lose sight of the bigger picture, which exists for two primary purposes: 1. To understand your monthly cash flow picture, and 2. To use that information to help you continuously live within your means and work towards your financial goals.
With this in mind, start building your budget with all your fixed expenses. These include your rent/mortgage, insurance premiums, loan payments, gym memberships, or any other costs that don’t fluctuate from one month to the next. Then determine your variable costs. These are the expenses that may vary from month to month, such as entertainment, dining out, groceries, or shopping (use your most recent three to six months’ of spending data to help). Once you have all this data, determine how much you can afford to spend in each category. Most fixed expenses won’t change, but your variable costs provide an opportunity to reduce your monthly overhead and free up more cash for saving and investing in your future.
#2: Reduce Your Monthly Expenses
Once you understand where your money goes every month, one of our other financial goals for spring is to determine which spending categories you can safely and comfortably reduce. Your goal should be to prioritize what you spend your money on while trimming the fat everywhere else. If you have more money left over every month, it means more cushion in your budget and the more money you can save towards other financial goals.
Start small by finding one or two areas where you can afford to cut back and doesn’t require making any drastic lifestyle changes. For example, you could buy and make your morning coffee at home instead of a daily Starbucks trip, or you could find a lower-cost cable television or cell phone plan. Remember, if you don’t value the expense, it won’t feel like a sacrifice removing or reducing what you spend on it.
#3: Pay Off Debt
Unfortunately, debt is often a necessary tool in managing your financial life. For example, most people will need to borrow money to purchase a house and a new car or to pursue a college education. Ideally, borrowing of this nature is uplifting long-term to your financial situation, but debt can also easily head in the opposite direction. If you let credit card spending get out of hand or borrow more than you can truly afford, it could severely hinder you from achieving your long-term financial goals.
Therefore, the third of our financial goals for spring is to create a plan to pay it down aggressively. Consider or consolidating high-interest-debt and pay extra towards your highest-interest obligation each month. In the end, doing so could save you a significant amount of interest while also freeing up additional cash flow.
#4: Increase Your Retirement Contributions
Inflation means that the cost of retirement is continually rising. If you want to ensure you build enough wealth capable of sustaining your lifestyle in retirement, you should be saving as much as you can as early as possible. The earlier you put your money into your retirement savings, the longer it will have to grow, providing you with a better return on your investment.
The more money you contribute every month, the more fuel you provide for compounding interest to work its magic. As a result, make sure you increase your retirement contributions at least one to two percent each year until you are maxing them out.
#5: Establish an Emergency Fund
An emergency fund is a great way to stay on track financially when the unexpected occurs. Loss of employment, major medical expenses, or significant house repairs can quickly lead to substantial costs that can wreak havoc on your monthly cash flow and your progress towards financial goals. The general rule of thumb is always to have at least three to six months of both fixed and variable living expenses saved.
If you already have your emergency fund started, set a goal to increase what you add to it each month even if it is only $50. If you don’t have an emergency fund, now is the time to start it. Set reasonable goals for your fund, so it doesn’t seem overwhelming and set your initial funding goal at $2,000 to $3,000 as this amount of money should be able to cover any significant car repairs or the deductible on your homeowner’s policy if you were to sustain a loss.
Financial Goals for Spring: The Bottom Line
With Spring in full swing, there’s no better time to get your financial house in order. Whether starting small or building on other objectives, setting specific, measurable, and attainable financial goals for yourself is a great way to create motivation for the year ahead. If you’re struggling with where to start, however, don’t stress – we can help. Schedule a time to chat with us today to see how.
Forefront Wealth Partners is an independent financial advisory firm that provides creative problem solving to our clients. In a world where change is accelerating and the future uncertain, we provide simplicity and confidence concerning financial, tax, and legal strategies. Our process involves a deep relationship, focusing on meaningful outcomes and dynamic planning.
The information given herein is taken from sources that IFP Advisors, LLC, dba Independent Financial Partners (IFP), IFP Securities LLC, dba Independent Financial Partners (IFP), and its advisors believe to be reliable, but it is not guaranteed by us as to accuracy or completeness. This is for informational purposes only and in no event should be construed as an offer to sell or solicitation of an offer to buy any securities or products. Please consult your tax and/or legal advisor before implementing any tax and/or legal related strategies mentioned in this publication as IFP does not provide tax and/or legal advice. Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and do not take into account the particular investment objectives, financial situation, or needs of individual investors. This report may not be reproduced, distributed, or published by any person for any purpose without IFP’s express prior written consent.
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