Happy New Year! For most of us, we use this season as the time we set aside to make plans to take action on things we have neglected the previous year. Have you ever taken a good look at the word “ACTION?” Interestingly enough, if you take the “I” out and place it at the beginning, it says “I Act On.” And like other plans you have, there is no better time to take action on and control of your finances. Here is a good six step action plan for you to act on for the new year:
1. From your W2 or 1099, identify the source of your income and deductions. Then, minus deductions, identify how much you bring home per pay. This is your net income. Multiply this by twelve and this should give you a good idea of your annual income.
2. Create a personal spending plan utilizing the 100% Rule. This rule suggests you divide your income into thirds – 10% to your passion, 20% for savings, and 70% for living expenses. You could define passion as giving to a religious or social service organization, a business enterprise, or a hobby. All it takes is a little orderly prioritizing, 10-20-70, a little discipline and a whole lot of commitment to achieve the things you want in life.
3. Categorize (Category A) how much of your money is going to the following: savings, housing, utilities, transportation, insurance.
4. Categorize (Category B) how much of your money is going to the following: technology (cell phone, cable, Sirius, internet etc.), personal care (hair, nails, dry cleaning etc.), leisure (memberships, travel, dining etc.), and debt (credit cards, student loans, personal loans).
5. Commit to reviewing your personal spending plan monthly. Set aside one hour a month to ask yourself three basic questions:
a. Where is my money going?
b. Have I saved some money for myself? The amount of money is not as important as the “act” of saving on a consistent basis and,
c. How can I save or spend differently?
6. If you are having difficulty with the first five steps, secure a wealth manager to assist you in getting things done. Securing a wealth manager to assist you in taking control of your finances just might be the best decision you’ll make this year.
These six simple steps can help you have a happy, healthy and prosperous new year. Let’s take “Action”!
The strategies presented on this site are based upon the research and experiences of the SDM Investments during its many years as professional investor advisor. As you make your own investments and develop a financial plan for yourself the SDM strongly suggests consulting appropriate professionals in the fields of law, real estate and finance. Because no one financial plan fits all or is foolproof, the SDM is not responsible for any adverse consequences resulting from the use of any information discussed on this site However, SDM believes this information is pertinent and should be made to the public.
Author's byline: Sharon is the visionary and CEO of SDM Investments, LLC since 2006. Ms. Mallory is responsible for defining and maintaining the direction of SDM and ensuring that client’s financial planning needs are being met at the highest level of fiduciary responsibility. Sharon served as a commanding officer in the United States Army several years prior to entering the financial industry in 1992. Sharon attended Purdue University Lafayette where she received her BA degree prior to pursuing advance degrees at Chicago State University and the University of Colorado’s School of Financial Planning. Ms. Mallory received her Chartered Mutual Fund Counselor (CMFC) designation from the University of Colorado. She holds her FINRA series 6, 63, 65 securities licenses and Life and Health licenses in various states in which the firm is registered.