Determine your financial goals
Everyone has different goals. Whether it’s restoring credit, saving for retirement, buying a home, or paying college tuition, knowing what you want to do in the new year is the first step.
Determining your short and long-term financial goals is the first step toward reaching them and will also keep you from setting your goals too high.
“One of the difficulties with goal-setting is ‘all or nothing thinking,” Brittney Castro, a certified financial planner, told NBC. “It’s an extreme mindset, and when we do things like that, we set ourselves up for failure because we don’t take into consideration all the grays of life.”
The second step in any financial plan is budgeting. It doesn’t matter what your goals are, saving, restoring your credit, or wealth building; you can’t get on the road to financial freedom without a map, and your budget is that map.
“My best tip for tracking, organizing, and staying on top of my finances is to create a monthly budget or a spending plan (for those who find the word budget really boring). The importance of creating a budget cannot be over-emphasized because having a budget helps me,” Esther Mukoro, a financial coach and the founder of Money Nuggets, told Liberty Paperwork Solutions.
If you can’t stick to your budget, plan your spending
If you’ve set budget after budget and continuously blow through them, then it may be easier to create a spending plan instead.
“The concept of living on a spending plan instead of a budget can give you freedom and peace of mind,” Loreen Gilbert, a wealth manager, told Bankrate.
Additionally, a spending plan allows you to choose what to spend your money on instead of being focused on what you can’t buy. Start with necessary expenses, rent, food, utilities, and savings. Money management apps can also help you keep track of things and make automated payments or transfers.
Track your accounts and your purchases regularly
In some months, people can be frugal, while in other months, people might overspend a bit if issues or events come up. Tracking your accounts regularly will not only show you where your money is going but also when your spending is getting out of hand. It can also help let you know when it’s time to pull back on spending and save more.
Plan monthly no-spend weekends
One of the best ways to save money is by not staying in. No-spend weekends are a great way to give your accounts and cards a break. Start by planning for your weekends ahead of time. Pick up whatever food and entertainment you need before the weekend. If you live in a large metro area, figure out what free events there are that weekend that’ll pique your interest. Another option is to stay at home with some comfort food, stay out of the winter weather, and stream your favorite movies and shows.
Boost your retirement savings
For those of you who are already well into your financial plan and are waiting for that beautiful day called retirement, boosting your retirement savings is paramount, as inflation is driving many who called it quits back into the workforce.
Today, you need to ensure your retirement money will last and that unpredictable circumstances don’t empty your savings faster than you planned. Lorna Sabbia, the head of retirement and personal wealth solutions at Bank of America, suggests taking a long-term approach to your retirement plans.
If you’re investing, wait for the right opportunity
“Technically, a recession is when there is no growth or negative growth in the economy, and typically you’ll see higher unemployment, higher interest rates, and less consumer spending,” Stevens told Edmond on the Your Money, Your Life podcast. “The larger context is that these are cycles.”
“For those of us that understand the cycles, this is a great time to take advantage of sales in the market, so if you change that mindset of scarcity into one of opportunity, knowing that recessions happen and after the bear market, there’s a big bull market right after so you want to be able to get through the recession for whatever happens after.”
Sticking to your financial goals during a recession will give you access to more opportunities as the market and the economy begin to bounce back.
Finding capital to start or help your business
“We consider ourselves probably one of the largest African American deployers of capital in the US,” Everett Sands told BLACK ENTERPRISE. “And after George Floyd, what was very important to me as the CEO is that we got a chance to sit at the table and help to influence or add our voice when various clients were starting to create programs such as the NY State Seed Fund.”
Additionally, Black celebrities, including tennis legend Serena Williams, rapper Jay-Z, producer Pharell Williams, and others, are giving out loans to minority and female-led small businesses.
Stay away from risky investments
The tech industry has been one of the most tried and true investments in recent years, with the growth of Amazon, Apple, and Google. Cryptocurrency has also been viewed as a fast way to drive your accounts up.
However, the tech industry is laying off thousands of workers nationwide. At the same time, many who poured money into cryptocurrency have lost it in what is an unregulated market, including some notable celebrities and athletes who took money in Bitcoin.
Investing in safer areas isn’t foolproof, but they are areas where investment and the world are growing. Green energy is an area where investment is exceeding predictions due to rising energy costs worldwide. Additionally, several sectors in green energy, including solar, wind, hydroelectric, and geothermal, are growing worldwide, including in the U.S.
Remember, money management is a marathon, not a sprint
Any form of money management, no matter how big or small, takes time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your financial goals won’t be achieved in a day, either. It will take months and maybe even years of you saving, spending frugally, and sacrificing.
If you feel like budgeting and limiting your spending is too hard, remember what the goal is and how far you’ve made it. Also, make it a point to celebrate small milestones on the way to your goal; it’ll keep you motivated to get to the finish line.
Remember, this is for your financial future and freedom, so stay positive and keep your goal in mind because when you finally hit that goal, you’ll realize it wasn’t as hard as it seemed on that first day.
Source: Black Enterprise