Happy new year my dear readers! (Hope it’s not too late to say that, lol) Another year has gone by in a blink of an eye and time for the whole “new year, new me” shindig. Some of us have come up with resolutions for the year and that’s great! Things like “lose weight” or even “keep my finances on track” are good things to look into but setting goals is only part of the battle. Most of the work comes from being disciplined!
When it comes to money, it’s important to pause and review. That’s why accountants and auditors have a pretty hectic time when it comes to checking and closing the books! So what should we be looking at when the new year just rolled over?
Money goals for 2019 – Are your finances on track?
Honestly, I just thought of this little titbit (weeks ago by the time this is edited). We get our wages, bank takes a cut for loans and we buy stuff we want; that’s the normal cycle of life, right? Now, the question is, can there be more to this? It’s a good time to sit down and reflect on how you are financially for the last year and if you’d want to do anything different for this year. These goals will be your roadmap to improve on not just your money matters but overall life goals as well!
So what should you look into?
1. Savings plan
If you’ve been following me along, I’ve always talked about saving up. So what can you improve on your savings?
a. Savings rate
Savings rate is the percentage you put aside every month as a Type A saver. Assuming you already have a habit of saving up, consider this: is it possible to up the savings rate slightly more?
b. Savings goal
One way to visualise your savings is to think about how much you’d want to save within a timeline e.g. by December 2019. Think of what you’re saving for and what you’re going to do with it! Could be for something nice and shiny, or simply having an amount set aside for a rainy day?
2. Splurging habit
Surprisingly, a lot of people “can’t save”! Many people can save up short term but once we see a large sum sitting in the bank account, we start thinking “wow, I could buy x with this amount!” and the temptation monster starts scratching at us. And frankly, I’m as immune to temptation as the next guy.
One way to counter this is to have a “fun fund” which may consist of 5-10% of your pay to basically spend on anything you like; guilt free! So now you have a way to satisfy with small, controlled splurges and your savings will thank you for it!
3. Investment plan
We all want to invest. I’ve heard it countless times from friends, families and acquaintances alike. But what to invest in; that’s the million dollar question (sometimes literally). Think about what you should invest in, in terms of:
- Returns desired (how many % do you want?)
- Risk appetite
- How well you know the investment vehicle
Learn and research, ask financial professionals, absorb and process the information. This will allow you to pick and invest in what’s right for you.
4. Debt status
We’ve always thought Bruneians are pretty comfortable (sometimes too comfortable) with debt. If you got some overdraft, personal loan or credit card debt, it’s time to have a look at how much you’re owing. The reason being you should think about paying these down because of their interest rates:
- Overdraft = ~7%
- Personal loan = ~7%
- Credit card = 18%
The percentages are considered quite high so even if you’re investing regularly, at the end of the day, any profits would be nullified by the debt interest!
5. Financial goals
Things that we dream about should be revisited too. Is that dream still viable? How far are you from it? Goals like buying a car or house is pretty simple to track; basically saving up for down payment or cash purchase. What about plans of retirement; how much do you need to invest to get to a good enough state to retire?
Regardless of our goals, without monitoring we’re feeling around blindly and hoping we will reach it. Imagine going on a diet and not weighing yourself or checking your body fat percentage; how would you know it’s working?
Checking and realigning ourselves is pretty important. If monitoring is the key to success for things like weight loss, career progression, learning skills and so on, why not keeping finances on track too? Remember that where we are will also determine the route to get to where we want to be!
Cheers to an amazing 2019 ahead, my dear Readers!