We may have a tricky year ahead of us, so what’s the best and easiest strategy for consistent success in 2018?
Start the year with or without New Year’s Resolutions, but commit to success this year by paying attention:
#1. To how well informed you and information sources you rely on are
#2. To what’s really going on around you — real and fake, and
#3. To how you react to what’s going on around you — online and off.
Whether you are a real estate owner or a wanna-be… whether you intend to buy or sell in 2018, so much is shifting in real estate, in the economy, and everywhere else that nothing should be taken for granted or assumed in 2018. Concentrate on getting the facts not just someone else’s bias view of where advantages lie for you.
#1. A lot changed in 2017 and the full implications of those changes will continue to emerge in 2018.
Pay attention to ramifications and compromises, subtle and otherwise, attached to changes in everything from tax law and net neutrality to technology’s continued re-write and disruption of much we’ve take for granted:
#2. Whoever or whatever you blamed for distractions in 2017 will be with you in 2018 and might even be worse.
There are only so many hours in the day and only so many dollars in your pay check. Distractions that erode concentration on your needs and goals, and distractions that feed impulse spending will be expensive in many ways. Pay attention to what takes you off point, off track, and off goal to ensure you stay in control. You may blame others for distracting you, but it’s your powers of concentration that should be continually honed and improved to keep you ahead of the pack.
#3. Significant amounts of what you believed you knew in 2017 about real estate, finance, insurance, home security, mortgages, work, and the internet will be out of date in 2018.
Pay attention to which laws, regulations, services, and real estate expenses have actually changed not just been endlessly, sensationally rehashed in the media and online. Accurate information and clever strategies are gold.
Let’s meet the challenges and opportunities of 2018 head on!
Paying off debt in the new year is a common resolution. But resolving to do something and actually doing it are two different things.
Taking a smart approach to building good habits, however, can help you master your debt in the coming year.
Jon Bailey, professor emeritus in the psychology department at Florida State University, suggests applying some principles of behavioral psychology to help you create sustainable habits.
“Our general approach is really from the angle of self-management,” Bailey says. “You have to know yourself and your environment so you can put some things in place … (to) make the behavior, in this case paying off debt, more likely to occur.”
With this in mind, here are tactics to help you follow through on your debt resolution:
Create an inventory of your debts, including their totals and interest rates. Add them up to see exactly how much you have to pay down.
Defining your goal can help you focus your payoff journey and see what being debt-free would look like, says Weslia Echols, an accredited financial counselor in Michigan. “Seeing that picture clearly and knowing the value of not having that debt can motivate you to stay the course.”
Focus on the day-to-day steps needed to achieve your goal.
►Figure out how much you can put toward your debt each month.
►Choose how you’ll approach paying off debt. Consider using the debt snowball method, in which you pay off smaller debts first to secure early victories that will keep you motivated.
►Trim expenses to find more money for debt paydown.
When making budget cuts, Bailey sees moderation as key to success. “If you go out to eat four nights a week, see what you’d save by only going out three nights a week. The extreme — cutting out going out entirely — isn’t going to last.”
Track your progress and create a backstop to help you stay focused, such as updating a friend about your progress each month. Think about using an app to help you cement your new habits.
Consider imposing a penalty if you don’t stay on track. For example, make a deal with your accountability partner that if you skip a payment, you’ll have to clean their apartment.
Build in rewards as you make progress. Each $100 you pay off, for example, give yourself some small treat to celebrate. This can keep you encouraged and on track toward paying off your debt in the new year.
Sean Pyles is a personal finance writer at NerdWallet. Email: email@example.com
Consider the following scenarios: You’ve worked hard all your life, been careful with your finances and are now looking forward to retirement. You have a general sense of how your assets are performing, but could use some additional guidance. Or, perhaps you haven’t been much of a saver and you are now playing catch-up and have fears of running out of money in retirement. Both scenarios are ideal for consulting with a financial advisor. Yet – many people don’t. Perhaps there is an underlying fear that they don’t have enough money to even qualify for speaking with a financial advisor, or that they are in such bad financial shape that it makes no sense for them to reach out to an industry expert. The important thing to remember is that if someone is willing to take the step to meet with an advisor, it can be advantageous for them to do so, as they might pick up a few tips and strategies they would not have otherwise been exposed to.
So…when does it make sense to work with a financial advisor? In a 2014 survey, people ages 50-59 were only saving $78/month towards retirement, and another 50% that were questioned think they needed less than $500,000 in retirement savings to be financially secure. These are scary statistics and saving this little each month does little for retirement security; you would be looking at working until 70 or 75 to ensure you had a solid nest egg built up. $500,000 will only generate about $25,000 worth of income in retirement; most people need more than that to live in the Northeast.
With that in mind, you should consider working with a financial planner if:
Financial planners aren’t just for people that have money or people that already have a strong sense of their finances and retirement plan. Financial planners can also be an excellent resource for people that don’t have good sense of their finances and are lacking a plan. They offer unbiased, expert advice and can open your eyes up to tips and strategies you might not have been aware of. As all financial advisors have their own style, do your research to determine which one is the best match for you and your needs. You go to the doctor to ensure you are in optimal health; why not go to a financial advisor to ensure your finances are healthy, too?