We ring in the New Year with great optimism in anticipation of improving upon the previous one. Taking charge of one's finances ranks very high on the list of priorities for all of us. Daunting as it may sound, all it takes is a little foresight, time, and discipline to get a rock-solid financial plan in place.
Here are six tips for a financially rocking year:
1. Draw up a plan
Putting your plans on paper is imperative for any financial goal to work. So sit down with a big cup or mug of your favourite beverage and draw up a comprehensive goal sheet.
Account for all your income sources and expenses, investment patterns, and debt obligations. Prioritise your short-, mid- and long-term goals and define timelines for when and how you plan to achieve them.
Related: Financial planning for dummies: A 7 step guide 2. Create a living, breathing budget The financial plan should be a dynamic document that you revisit regularly. It needs to adapt to your (possibly) changing goals, or important life events such as marriage, the birth of a child, or even a medical emergency.
As important it is to look forward, one also needs to look back to assess areas of improvement. Feed in your actionables on your smartphone and email calendar so that you are reminded to evaluate your goal sheet once a fortnight.
Related: The best apps to help you track and save money
3. Make sustainable changes
You don't have let go of all your desires to fulfil a financial goal. The idea of the exercise is to be able to achieve financial freedom. So start with small practical and measurable goals. These small milestones not only make the effort look less challenging, they also act as encouragement for the next landmark.
Track progress regularly to ensure all inflows and expenses are managed adequately and incorporate corrective measures if necessary.
Another important aspect is to separate your wants from your needs. This should help weed out or curb wasteful expenditure and allow for better fund allocation. And if you have a significant other, sibling, or parent who shares a similar financial goal, partner with them to create a robust..