Whether you greet the New Year with a roar or with a meow, odds are that you've given more than passing thought to where your life stands now, and where you want it to lead.
But if you haven't taken a complete inventory of all aspects of your life and made a to-do list for the next year, no need to worry. We've asked an expert to suggest ways in which you can start or continue to put your house in order. After all, why let another year pass by before making changes that can improve your life right now?
A word of caution, though. As with any list of good intentions, some are easier than others. Set yourself up for success by choosing "resolutions" that are do-able for you right now and tackle them. Then pick some that you can visualize as long-term goals and work on them a bit at a time. Jot them down, tape them to your bathroom mirror, and keep them in your everyday consciousness. A year from now, take time to congratulate yourself on how much closer you are to living the life you want to live.
By Allison St. Claire
- Put at least 10% of every income source into an investment program or product. That means not only your salary, but also dividends, cash gifts, change from turning in your soda cans, and money you find laying on the street. Even small amounts grow with the miracle of compounding, and you'll build a tidy little nest egg.
- To prevent snowballing debt, never use a credit card for anything that you will have consumed before getting the bill, such as groceries, gasoline and dining out. Better yet, use a credit card only for the direst of emergencies.
- Become money smart. Actively garner at least one nugget of financial knowledge each week from newspapers, magazines, money-savvy friends or co-workers. Keep a list of intriguing ideas and useful information where you can see it every day.
- Create or update your will, no matter what your age. No one likes to contemplate their own demise, but a will not only ensures that your wishes will be honored, but also makes life easier for your loved ones. Don't forget to specify your choice for who will be the guardian(s) of your minor children.
- Take full advantage of all investment opportunities at work-employer contributions and savings opportunities are invaluable. At the same time, keep in mind that investment portfolios should be diverse, so pursue personal investing through an investment club or a certified financial planner.