If you’re in a rut writing down the same old New Year’s Resolutions every year, we wanted to offer some new ideas you might consider adding to your list of goals for 2017.
- Cash is KING. If you need more cash flow, consider additional earnings. Whether it’s asking for a raise at work, taking a side job or starting a new business, find a way to earn more money this year. Keep in mind that tax brackets matter, and if you are required to take an RMD (Required Minimum Distribution) from a qualified plan, this adds to your income for the tax year.
New tax brackets for 2017 (taxes due April 15, 2018) here.
- Sell stuff. If you have items in your home that are valuable but simply taking up space because you don’t use them, consider selling them, or donate them to a charity as a tax write-off. Some ideas: that fancy china pattern you really don’t like anymore, a piece of artwork that is not to your current taste, or the fitness machine you’ve never used. You’ll feel better without the clutter.
- Eat healthier. If the goal of “losing weight” is a losing proposition (because that one has been on your resolution list for years!), decide instead to replace a few meals with something healthier. For instance, have a salad night once per week which includes all your favorite vegetable toppings. Or commit to purchasing and eating seasonal local fruit every month (apples in fall, strawberries in spring, cantaloupe in summer, etc.)
- Move more. Along the same lines as #3, if you hate to exercise, find something you do enjoy. You could take up salsa dancing, or just dance around the living room. Or create a family game by having everyone do 10 jumping jacks each time there’s a commercial on TV.
- Say “Yes” to the BEST and “NO” to the GOOD. Let’s face it, we’re all busy. If there are things on your schedule that don’t edify you in any way, consider saying no to the next invitation. If that committee never really gets anything done or your friends just want to sit around and complain, give yourself permission to say “no” and do something else with that time.
- Have more fun. Make it a point to watch a comedy once a week, go to the park, tickle your children until they giggle, or play fetch with the dog every weekend. Whatever it is that makes you smile, do it more.
- Pay off a debt. If you still owe money on something, commit to paying an extra amount every month toward principal; for instance, an extra $100 a month on your credit card, car or house payment. Even a small amount can make a big difference in the long run.
- Make a budget. Take a look at what you spent last year on everything, and create a new budget that includes your priorities. Think outside the box. For instance, you might be spending money on groceries that go bad because you actually hate to cook. Maybe you’d save money by eating out when restaurants offer discounts.
- Categorize savings. If you’re like most people, you probably have short- and long-term goals. Put a monthly dollar amount aside for each objective—vacation, new car, house down payment, wedding, retirement.
- Categorize spending. If you have a budget as suggested in #8, this should be easy. Here are some suggested categories: monthly fixed expenses (housing, utilities, auto), variable expenses (hair/grooming, gifts, clothing, entertainment), yearly expenses (accountant, insurance premiums, tag/license renewals.)
- Max out your retirement savings. In today’s economy, it’s imperative to take care of yourself and your personal future. If your employer offers a plan like a 401(k), consider contributing enough to MAX OUT the MATCH from your employer. Once that is done talk to us about the most advantages choices for additional retirement savings. If you do not have a 401K, if it makes since for tax savings, consider contributing the maximum amount to your own IRA or other retirement investment. Thing also about opening a Bank On Yourself Plan that Chip can specially design for your unique needs. ( This plan gives you flexibility to use your retirement dollars on anything you want or need before you use them for retirement… what a concept!)
- Keep a journal. Even if you’re “not a writer” you can benefit from keeping notes to yourself on a daily, weekly or monthly basis—perhaps even as a way to hold yourself accountable. If you date each entry, you’ll have a written timeline you can refer to when creating next year’s resolutions. If you consider yourself creative, a journal is imperative to explore your most profound ideas.
- Schedule checkups. Schedule your yearly physical and your two dentist visits at the beginning of the year. Your health is your most valuable and irreplaceable attribute—make it a priority.
- Learn something new. Whether it’s learning how to play the piano, learning another language or reading about your favorite historical figure, put aside some time to learn something new this year.
- Schedule daily quiet time. Everyone needs balance and spending a few minutes a day with a quiet mind can increase your energy and improve your attitude.
- Read a personal development book. Find a great motivational book, then share the ideas your learn with family and friends. (Need an IDEA for a good book? Reach out to Renee Wittrock and she will give you a great suggestion.)
- Meet with your financial advisor regularly. Not only can Wittrock Financial Group help you review your overall financial plan and make sure it’s on track to meet your goals, but we will also review all of your accounts and make sure that your loved ones are all properly included as your family grows and changes through the years. Why is this important? Because your beneficiary designations actually take precedence over your will.
Contact Wittrock Financial Group in Scottsdale, Arizona or call us at 800-725-8780.We look forward to working with you in 2017!