New year, new financial resolutions. This year, it's time to take control of your finances and set yourself up for success. From assessing your insurance coverage, to paying off credit card debt, and saving for retirement, these 23 financial resolutions for 2023 will help you achieve your financial goals. Not only will you be able to achieve your financial goals, but also you will have peace of mind knowing that your loved ones are taken care of.
Estate and financial planning
Estate and financial planning is about protecting your assets, making sure your loved ones are taken care of, and minimizing taxes. It's important to take the time to organize your financial documents, appoint a guardian for children or pets, set up an emergency fund, start a family conversation about estate planning, make a plan to minimize taxes, and create or update your estate plan.
1. Organize your important financial documents
Organizing your important financial documents is the first step in good financial planning. This includes things like your estate plan (will and trust documents), insurance policies, investment accounts, and real estate deeds. Keep all of these documents in a safe place and make sure that someone you trust knows where they are.
With an online estate planning platform like Trust & Will, you can store and access your important financial documents from anywhere, with the added benefit of an online dashboard to track and update your documents easily and securely. By using our shared access feature, you can easily share your important financial documents with family members, a guardian, executor, or any other trusted person who plays a role in your estate plan. This ensures that they have access to the information they need in case something happens to you.
2. Appoint a guardian for children or pet
If you have children or pets, appointing a guardian for them is an important step in estate planning. This will ensure that they will be taken care of if something happens to you. Choose someone who is responsible and who you trust to raise your children or take care of your pets. Make sure that your chosen guardian is aware of your wishes and that they are willing to take on the responsibility.
3. Set up an emergency fund.
Emergencies can come in all shapes and sizes– including wildfires, medical bills, job loss, and of course, pandemics. They’re hard to predict and can manifest in any number of ways, making them all the more difficult to prepare for. An emergency fund is a savings account that is set aside for unexpected expenses. Setting up an emergency fund can help you be prepared for unexpected expenses like car repairs, medical bills, or job loss. Having an emergency fund will give you peace of mind and help you avoid taking on debt. It's recommended that you set aside enough to cover at least three to six months of expenses.
4. Start a family conversation about estate planning.
Estate planning is not just about what happens to your assets when you die, but also about what happens to you if you become incapacitated. Families that are most successful in creating and maintaining their legacy over multiple generations are those that have open lines of communication and involve their family members in their decision-making. Not only is it important to have these conversations with your immediate family, but also with older parents, adult children, and other family members who may play a role in your estate plan.
By involving family members in the decision-making process and having these important conversations, it exposes younger generations to the value of money, how to manage it, and how to cultivate a healthy relationship with it. Additionally, talking with your family and making sure that your wishes are in writing, and legally binding, will help to make sure that your assets are distributed the way you want, that your loved ones are taken care of, and that your wishes are respected even in the event of incapacity.
5. Make a plan to minimize taxes
Estate planning can also help minimize the taxes your loved ones will have to pay after you pass away. The best way to maximize your estate and protect yourself from taxes is to educate yourself, and seek out additional resources as needed, such as a tax professional or financial advisor– helping you understand the tax implications of your estate plan and make adjustments as needed to reduce taxes.
6. Create or update your estate plan
Creating your estate plan is one of the most important steps in financial planning, as it ensures that your assets are distributed the way you want, and your loved ones are taken care of in case of your incapacity or death. Estate planning includes things like creating a Will, setting up a Trust, appointing a power of attorney and executor or trustor of your estate. While it's a complicated process, it's essential to understand the implications of different types of estate planning tools and choose the ones that are best for you and your family.
Though it may feel like a daunting chore, estate planning is something we all need to face, it is not just about your finances but also about the well-being of your loved ones, and peace of mind that your wishes will be respected. Click here to learn more about creating your first estate plan, or click here to learn about when you should update your plan.
Personal education and budgeting
In order to take control of your finances in the new year, it's important to start with the basics. Welcome to the first step towards financial success in 2023: understanding your current situation and creating a budget that works for you. Budgeting is not only about numbers, it's also about mindset and behavior. It's about creating a plan for how to allocate your money and sticking to it. That's why in this section, we'll cover not only the technicalities of budgeting, but also the importance of tracking your spending, cutting unnecessary expenses, learning how to negotiate and increasing your personal finance knowledge. Alongside with that, in this section we'll also discuss how to evaluate your career prospects, talk to a financial advisor, and attend a virtual webinar or local seminar to boost your financial know-how.
7. Create a personal budget that works for you.
A budget is a plan for how you will spend your money. It can be simple or complex, but the most important thing is that it should be realistic and specific. By creating a budget and sticking to it, you'll be able to see where your money is going, identify areas where you can cut back, and make sure you're saving enough for the future.
8. Stick to your budget.
Budgeting is one thing, sticking to it is another. The key to success is tracking your spending and identifying areas for improvement. Here are a few additional tips for not just creating a budget that lasts:
Track your spending – It's important to know where your money is going. After establishing a budget, you'll be able to identify areas where you may be overspending, and make adjustments accordingly. You can use a budgeting app or software, or simply write down your expenses on a sheet of paper. By keeping track of your spending, you can adjust your budget as needed and stay on track to achieving your financial goals.
Cut unnecessary expenses – Now that you're tracking your spending, you can start cutting back on unnecessary expenses. This could be anything from cable TV you don't watch anymore, to subscriptions you're no longer using, or whatever random fees and expenses are eating up your budget. No need to cut out your morning lattes if the thought of that terrifies you– it’s more about finding places you are willing to cut back on. Every small amounts can add up, and by cutting back on just a few things, you can free up a significant amount of money to put towards your financial goals.
Learn how to negotiate – Negotiating is a valuable skill that can help you save money on everyday expenses and help you get the best deal possible. Whether it's negotiating a better rate on a mortgage or getting a raise at work, the skills you learn through negotiating can be applied to many areas of your life. Don't be afraid to ask for what you want– by being prepared, confident, and respectful, you'll be well on your way to becoming a successful negotiator and keeping more money in your pocket. Negotiating can be intimidating, but with practice and the right mindset, anyone can learn how to do it.
9. Increase your personal finance knowledge
It's important to stay informed about personal finance, and there are many ways to do this, such as reading books, following financial experts on social media, or listening to podcasts. By increasing your knowledge, you'll be better equipped to make informed decisions about your money.
Staying informed and educated about personal finance is essential to making informed decisions about your money. There are many ways to do this, such as reading books, following financial experts on social media, or listening to podcasts. Additionally, visiting our "Learn Center" on our online blog and reading our "Estate Planning and Legal Term Glossary" article can be a great way to deepen your knowledge on the topic. By increasing your knowledge, you'll be better equipped to make informed decisions about your money and achieve your financial goals. Keep learning, the more you know the better equipped you'll be to succeed financially.
10. Attend a virtual webinar or local seminar
Attending a financial seminar or workshop can be a great way to learn more about personal finance and budgeting. Many of these events are held online, so you can attend from the comfort of your own home.
11. Evaluate your career prospects
Evaluating your career prospects can help you understand the earning potential of your current job and how it fits into your overall financial plan. Consider going back to school or getting additional certifications if it can help you reach your financial goals.
12. Talk to a financial advisor
A financial advisor can provide guidance and support as you work towards achieving your financial goals. They can help you create a budget, invest your money, and create a plan for the future. They can also provide insight on tax laws, insurance, estate planning, and other financial matters, which will make a huge difference when you're making financial decisions.
By following these tips and strategies in this section, you can take control of your finances, make informed decisions, and set yourself up for a successful financial future. Remember that budgeting and increasing your personal finance knowledge is an ongoing process and should be reviewed and updated regularly to ensure you're on track to achieve your goals.
Managing your accounts is an essential step towards achieving your financial goals. Reviewing your insurance coverage, credit card debt, student loans, employee benefits, bank and credit card fees and rewards, and keeping track of all your accounts and securing your personal information is key to creating a comprehensive plan to manage your finances.
13. Assess your insurance coverage.
Assessing your insurance coverage is the first step in ensuring that you have the necessary protection for you and your assets. Make sure you have the right types and amounts of coverage for your needs such as health, car, home, and life insurance. Look into additional coverage options like disability or long-term care insurance and compare rates to make sure you're getting the best deal.
14. Understand your credit score and how your debt affects you.
Credit card debt can quickly accumulate and cost you a lot in interest charges. Create a plan to pay off your credit card debt as soon as possible and make sure to understand your credit score, which can affect the interest rates you qualify for when borrowing money. Improving your credit score by paying your bills on time and paying down outstanding debt can help you qualify for better interest rates in the future.
15. Create a plan to pay off student loans.
Student loans can be a significant financial burden, so it's important to create a plan to pay them off as soon as possible. Gather all of your student loan information, including the loan balance, interest rate, and monthly payment amount. Consider consolidating your loans to get a lower interest rate and a single monthly payment. Create a plan to pay off the loans as quickly as possible and make extra payments if you can.
16. Take advantage of employee benefits.
Many employers offer benefits like 401(k) plans, health insurance, and flexible spending accounts. Make sure you understand the benefits offered by your employer and take advantage of any employer matching programs for retirement savings. Don't miss out on valuable perks and benefits that can make a significant impact on your finances.
17. Review your bank and credit card fees and rewards programs.
Review the fees and rewards associated with your bank and credit card accounts. You may be paying more in fees than you need to or missing out on rewards that could save you money. Compare your accounts to other options and consider switching to accounts with lower fees or better rewards programs if you find that you're not getting a good deal.
18. Keep track of all your accounts and keep your information secure.
Keep track of all your accounts and keep your information secure.
Keeping track of all your accounts, including bank accounts, credit cards, insurance policies, and loans, is crucial for ensuring that they are all in good standing. To make it easier, you may want to consider using online account managers or personal finance apps to keep track of all your accounts in one place.
Additionally, it's essential to keep your personal information secure. A strong and unique password for each account is a must, but remembering all those passwords can be difficult. Password managers like 1Password can store all your passwords securely and even generate strong passwords for you. It can also alert you if any of your stored passwords have been compromised in a data breach. Using these tools can help you keep track of your accounts and protect your personal information.
Saving and investment goals
Saving and investment goals are an important part of creating a financially secure future for yourself and your loved ones. Setting and achieving these goals can help you save for big purchases, start saving for retirement, and even save for a child's college fund. Here are a few tips to help you get started on your saving and investment journey.
19. Save for your next big purchase with a high-yield savings account.
Opening a high-yield savings account can help you earn more interest on your savings. This can help you save for your next big purchase, like a down payment on a house, a new car, or your next jetsetting adventure! Additionally, setting a specific savings goal and keeping track of your progress can help you stay motivated to save.
20. Learn about investing in the stock market.
Learning about investing in the stock market can help you grow your savings over time. There are many resources available that can help you understand the basics of stock market investing, such as books, websites, and classes. Keep in mind that investing in the stock market comes with risks, so it's important to do your own research and invest only what you can afford to lose. It’s definitely not an option for everyone, but if you’re interested, maybe it could work for you!
21. Automate your savings.
Automating your savings can help you save money without even thinking about it. Set up automatic transfers from your checking account to your savings account, or set up automatic contributions to a retirement account. This way, you can save money consistently and easily.
22. Start saving for retirement.
Saving for retirement is an important goal, even if you're young. The earlier you start saving for retirement, the more time your money has to grow, and the less you'll have to save each month. Consider setting up a 401(k) or IRA account, and make sure you're taking advantage of any employer matching contributions.
23. Prioritize saving for a child's college fund
Saving for a child's college fund is another important goal to consider. Starting early can help you save enough to pay for your child's education, so they can graduate with less debt. There are a number of ways to save for a child's college, including opening a 529 savings plan or a custodial account.
As you begin to implement these 23 financial resolutions for 2023, remember to stay focused on your goals and keep track of your progress. Remember that estate planning is an important aspect of financial planning and it's important to review your plan periodically. With these tips and a little bit of hard work, you'll be well on your way to achieving your financial goals and building a secure future for yourself and your loved ones.
At Trust & Will, we understand how overwhelming estate planning can be, that's why we've made it easy. Our step-by-step process breaks everything down into bite-sized tasks that you can take at your own pace. We’ve helped hundreds of thousands of people secure their legacies, and we’d be honored to help you do the same. Take our free quiz to see where you should get started, or compare our different estate planning and settlement options today!
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