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An Early New Year’s Resolution

| December 05, 2014

We are well aware of the “busy-ness” the next 4 weeks will bring, but if you could take the time to make just one small change before the end of the year – something that would benefit you long term - would you do it?

The Holidays are a great time to give thanks, celebrate life, and enjoy time with family and friends, but have you ever thought about how you could benefit from wise year-end planning? Why not get a head start on your New Year’s Resolutions? As Benjamin Franklin once said:

“Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can get done today!”

For your convenience, we’ve compiled a short list of things that you might consider to help yourself:

  • Setup a spending plan for the Holidays. Plan now and avoid credit card debt to start off 2015.
  • Evaluate year-end tax saving strategies. Contact your CPA and implement the changes now. If you own a small business, this is a must! If you wait until January, it may be too late.
  • Reduce recurring expenses. Call your Internet provider, TV service and/or cell phone carrier and request a review of your bill. Discounts may be available or you might be able to eliminate services not needed. Cut $20 off a monthly bill and save $240 annually.
  • Save more for retirement. For each incremental $1000 saved annually for 20 years, you’ll have accumulated an additional $45,000 assuming an 8% return on your investment. This will also reduce your tax bill each year if a pre-tax savings account is used (i.e. 401k).
  • No 401k plan? No worries. Pick a broadly diversified, low-cost stock mutual fund and begin saving $100/month. We’ve never heard anyone complain about saving too much, too early. Start the habit now, and you’ll be grateful in 10, 20, or 30 years.
  • Exercise! Wait a minute, what’s that got to do with finances? Technically, it’s an expense in the near term, but staying healthy lowers your medical bills in the long run, and you’ll likely feel better and be more productive too.

We realize these topics aren’t top of mind this time of year, but implement an idea (even one of your own) and you’ll benefit for years to come. Afterward, go have fun, count your blessings, and enjoy the Holiday season with family and friends! Want to do something meaningful? Do a random act of kindness for a complete stranger in need, or host a party and take up a collection to provide a gift to a local charity. Life’s a journey, navigate it wisely.