I want to help you today. With your resolutions, that is.
You see, if you take a look at the most common resolutions (lose 20lbs, work out more, quit smoking, read more & watch less, etc. etc. etc.) they’re all pretty similar – you might as well get out last year’s list and just change the date at the top, am I right?
I am not suggesting these aren’t worthy goals. Phasing out bad habits helps you to focus and accomplish more of what you need to do in life.
But rather than staying on top of all that, I’m going to suggest a simplified approach:
Instead of waiting for someone to open your doors, why not just direct everything toward being the one who opens them, as a rule?
In a word: Inspire.
Think about it. How differently would you attack your own resolution list … if you knew that your success would move someone you care about to be greater, as well?
After all, if you had to inspire someone this year, by being (or at least visibly trying to be) what great people aspire to be, what would you do differently?
(Perhaps you might do some tax planning? Because you could be saving money and making the most of your tax situation. And that can start now. All that takes is booking some time with your favorite Blue Springs, Missouri tax pro.
Now, if you are thinking about how to more broadly improve your financial situation this year, I’ve got some ideas for reaching those financial goals…
4 Financial Goals Jackson County People Can Reach in 2023
“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” -George Santayana
There is a big problem with many peoples’ financial resolutions: They don’t usually last even until the end of January.
But the ones I’m about to recommend to you here can because they’re incremental AND anyone can do them.
Making a permanent change in our behavior requires both time and a steely resolve. But if we attack these things on a step-by-step basis, I’ve found that we can develop financial character one action at a time.
So, in that vein, here are some things you can do, in a sequential order, that will make a huge difference in your financial year. If you’ve already got one down, check it off, and move to the next on the list.
2023 Financial Goal #1: EVERYONE START HERE: Resolve to become (and stay) debt free.
So, as a start, I’d say that you can have a fixed-rate, fixed-year traditional mortgage on your house — but shoot for nothing else. No HELOC. No car payments. Certainly, no credit card debt. Because you simply have to learn to live within your means — which, unfortunately, sometimes means going without. The millionaires among us really are frugal.
You can learn to enjoy the process of chipping away at your debt, and it’s truly the best and first place to start.
2023 Financial Goal #2: Automate your savings (i.e., Pay Yourself First).
Does your company offer a 401(k)? Get the entire match. Usually, this translates to saving 5% of your salary while the company contributes a 4% match, which is the fastest way to get an 80% return on your money. Most Americans forgo this match, believing they need to spend 100% of their salary. But you can learn to think like a millionaire and live well on 95% of what you make.
If you don’t have a 401(k) plan, act like you do, and sock away 5% automatically. Or talk to your employer about different company savings vehicles.
2023 Financial Goal #3: Fully fund your 2023 Roth IRA.
This is $6,500 in 2023 and $7,500 if you are older than age 50. And if you can’t manage the entire amount in January, it equates to a $540 monthly savings. Automating these savings plans is relatively painless — it’s the living without after the fact which seems difficult … until it isn’t.
Set your savings on autopilot, and pat yourself on the back.
Remember — these steps build off one another, so if you already have done the first 3, here’s your next step:
2023 Financial Goal #4: Save another 5% in a taxable investment account.
Automating savings is great, automating investment is even greater. The key word here: automate. At this point, you’re hitting the mark of saving 15-20% of your income. That’s a fast track to long-term prosperity.
In terms of WHAT you invest in, there are many great options. Index funds are a great place to start, but every person’s situation is slightly different here.
And so, yes: These are the basic, first steps. I’ll have more sophisticated advice moving forward.
But get these going this month, and start your financial 2023 on the right track.
Think about these financial goals as a means to inspire other Santa Cruz County people who are also looking to drop the shackles of debt and get vision for their wealth. In a time when the economy continues to struggle, and the future is unclear, these kinds of actions prepare you to weather the onslaught.
And, I’m here to help you weather your annual tax filing as well as make sure your tax footing is sound for the following year.
On your team,
Mike Mead, EA, CTC