I’m not a big fan of New Year Resolutions. That’s because they’re often made while under the influence of more than a few champagnes and generally evaporate with the onset of the next day’s hangover.
I am, however, a fan of New Financial Year Resolutions. Perhaps it’s because we’re not only sober by July, we’re often a lot more serious.
We know we’re half way into the year and we figure if we don’t do something now then we’re going to arrive at the end of the year either in the same position or, god forbid, a worse position than the one we started.
The question is, what should you be making New Year financial resolutions about? Below are seven common money problems, which if you only pick one, and do something about it, will mean you’ll make a difference to your finances this year.
- If you’re in a relationship: If you haven’t had ‘the money talk’ with your partner yet, then make this the week you do. Start with what you both have, what you owe, and what you both want to achieve. If something is a surprise, talk through how you’re going to deal with it together.
- If you were hopeless with your taxes last year: In July, book in to see a great accountant so you’re already ahead of the game. Then while you’re there, ask for tips on how to handle your affairs better this year.
- If you have no idea where your money is going: Set up a cloud solution such as Money Smart or Xero and start allocating your expenses so you know where your money is going. Then set some goals, add a budget, and decide to become a conscious consumer.
- If you haven’t set goals: Work out what your 12-month and 3-year goals are, how much you need to make them happen, calculate it back to a weekly amount, and then set up an automatic savings plan. Stick pictures of your goals up where you can see them or as the screen saver on your phone so you don’t go off track.
- If you want to retire: Talk to an expert in July who can help you define when you want to retire, how much you’ll need, what you have and what the gap is. By having this conversation early in the year you can take action around the plan you create.
- If you’re worried about asset protection: Speak to an expert in July about how best to protect what you have. This can be a complicated process and there may be capital gains tax and stamp duty involved if you’re moving assets, but it’s important to understand what’s involved so you can make an informed decision.
- If you have credit card debt: Whether you have one card, multiple cards, or long-standing debt, then decide to do something about it. Perhaps it’s looking at transferring the balance to a zero rate credit card or maybe it’s consolidating your debt into a loan and then cutting up the cards.
- If you want to start a business: You know that great idea you’ve always had that itches away and you wonder if there’s something to it? Put a weekend aside in the first three months of the year and work out a plan to see if there’s anything to it.
A new Financial Year is a good opportunity to start to become financially organised. Which is easy to say, but when research undertaken by Officeworks in association with H&R Block shows that almost half of Australians (48%) find tax preparation stressful, with around a third (35%) saying they begrudge tax time and leave preparation until the last minute, it’s obviously not so easy to do. Instead, choose today to make this Financial Year a great one.