Achieving financial stability requires sacrifice and persistence. The beginning of a new year is always an ideal time to reflect on your financial goals and make resolutions to improve your financial future.
However, many people procrastinate or make easily avoidable mistakes that prolong unsavory financial situations. Don’t get to the end of 2023 only to regret not doing more to secure your financial well-being. This article discusses the top 5 financial resolutions you can make in 2023 and how you avoid the common mistakes standing in your way.
Create a Budget
One of the most important steps in achieving financial stability is to monitor how your money is being allocated. Creating a budget gives you a bird’s eye view of cash flow vs expenses. If you have more money going out than coming in, you need to cut your expenses.
Start with your variable expenses (i.e., entertainment, eating out, gas, etc.). Do you really need to buy coffee every morning? Can you carpool? Try meal prepping to save money on food or get rid of subscriptions you don’t use or need.
Then move on to your fixed expenses (i.e., rent, car payments, phone bill, etc.). Reducing these expenses will be difficult, but it’s always worth trying to negotiate your deal or searching for a new provider.
Save More Money for Retirement
Saving for retirement can be challenging on a budget, but it is important to start early and be consistent. Here are a few ways to save for retirement on a budget:
- Start small — Contributions to a retirement account compound over time.
- Take advantage of employer matching — If your employer offers a 401(k) match, contribute as much as you can.
- Prioritize saving — Make saving for retirement a fixed expense in your budget.
- Cut expenses — Use the money you save from meal prepping, taking your coffee at home, and sharing subscription services towards retirement.
- Consider low-cost investment options — Index funds, REITs, stocks, bonds, and mutual funds do not require tons of capital to get started with. Open an IRA to avoid taxes and start investing.
Set a Long-Term Goal for Repaying Student Loans
Federal student loan borrowers are awaiting news on the status of Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan. However, it’s best to be prepared for the possibility of payments resuming in 2023 as the pause on payments will officially end in Summer 2023 or after the legal status of the forgiveness plan is resolved.
In the meantime, borrowers are encouraged to monitor the amount of their next payment, identify whether they can afford the bill on their current income, and ask their servicer to change repayment plans if necessary. Federal loan borrowers have access to repayment programs such as income-driven repayment, which can lower bills to a fraction of their income and may allow forgiveness after 20 to 25 years of payments.
Review your Insurance Coverage
Make sure your insurance coverage fits your needs. This might include health, life, auto, and home insurance. Review your current coverage to see if there are any gaps or if you’re overpaying. Shop around for the best rates and don’t be afraid to negotiate.
Pay off Debt
Paying off debt should be a top priority. Reducing or eliminating your debt allows you to free up more money each month to save or invest which will compound over time and lead to a richer financial future.
Many people make the mistake of adding new debt as they try to pay off their current loans. This is like digging a hole and filling it up with dirt at the same time. To avoid this, don’t take on any new debt until you have a steady income, can make payments on time, and have improved your credit score.
Two paths toward debt repayment are typically recommended. First, you could work to eliminate your smallest debt before moving on to the next smallest and continuing this until all debt is eliminated (snowball method). Alternatively, you could target your highest-interest loan before moving on to the next highest (avalanche method).
Remember, it’s never too late to start making positive changes to your finances. Take small steps, stay consistent, and avoid the common mistakes discussed in this article, and you’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish in a year.
Work with Debt Relief Professionals
When searching for a debt settlement company, it’s essential to consider the experience and trustworthiness of the organization. Americor is a reputable choice, with a proven track record of helping individuals and families resolve over $2 billion in debt across 30 states.
They are fully accredited by leading industry organizations such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB), the American Fair Credit Council (AFCC), and the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators (IAPDA). With a team of over 400 experts, Americor can design a personalized solution to meet your specific needs and guide you through these challenging financial times.
To determine if you qualify for debt settlement and if debt consolidation is a viable option for you, take advantage of a free debt analysis with a certified debt consultant.