Get Your Finances in Shape for 2016

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With the arrival of the New Year comes an influx of resolutions, many of which will soon be forgotten. New goals are set and changes are made in an effort to improve our lifestyles for the better. Many of these New Year’s resolutions focus around health and wellness, such as eating healthier or getting in shape. But what about financial resolutions? The New Year is the perfect time to reevaluate your finances, establish financial goals, and develop a strong action plan that will help you maintain your resolution year-round. It’s time to set yourself up for the most fiscally sound year yet!

 

Begin by reevaluating your 2015 finances. In order to get where you want to be, you must first look at where you were. Take note of where money was spent to gain insight about where money can be saved going forward. If you have debt, make yourself aware of everything you owe. Looking at your financial year in review is also a great way to determine your financial strengths as well as uncover areas in need of improvement. This will help you decide what it is you want to improve upon and accomplish in 2016.

 

Using the insights gained from reevaluating 2015, ask yourself, “What do I want to accomplish this year?”  Whether you want to save money, decrease debt, or simply develop smart financial habits, no goals are too big or too small as long as they are attainable and conducive to your lifestyle. The best way to keep your resolutions throughout the year is to set realistic and achievable goals.

 

Once you have decided what it is you want to achieve in 2016, you can implement a plan to help you reach your targets. When creating your plan, set two dates within the year to review your finances. Doing so will give you insight into what is working and what is not in regards to your budget, savings, spending, investments, and tax prep. The use of a financial calendar can be extremely helpful in keeping you organized and ensuring all your financial deadlines are met, especially important tax dates. The IRS provides a comprehensive tax calendar online that can help get you started. A financial calendar eliminates the element of surprise, as you will be aware and prepared for what is to come.

Creating and employing a spending budget is a key way to achieve financial stability. While it may seem obvious to spend less money than you earn, it is not always easy to adhere to. A spending budget accounts for every dollar and should you abide by it, ensures you do not overspend. And don’t forget to prepare for the unexpected when creating your budget! The best way to financially survive unplanned events is to anticipate them. Allocate a portion of your budget for emergency funds and those unexpected events won’t seem nearly as impactful. A detailed spending budget is a strong asset for anyone and everyone and is imperative in achieving your financial goals, whatever they may be.

 

There are numerous ways to take control of your finances. If the commitment of a financial resolution overwhelms you, start by educating yourself on the subject. There is a wealth of information and advice as well as budget and bookkeeping tools available online that can help you better understand your personal finances. Mint is a free and powerful budgeting tool that gathers all your financial information into one place, making it easy to see and understand your spending behaviors. Billguard is another budgeting tool available for Android and iPhone that works to track and protect your finances. If you are having trouble reaching your financial objectives, don’t be afraid to ask! Your local CPA can happily provide advice. Adopting smart money habits is an easy and powerful way to take control of your finances. Think before you make a purchase, pay attention to bank statements, check in with your budget every month, etc. A strong bookkeeping strategy can make all the difference.

 

Always be proactive when it comes to your finances. Learn as much as you can and implement your understandings into your day to day life. While it is never easy to keep a New Year’s resolution, a committed attitude and a solid plan can keep you from reverting back to old habits. Gaining control of your finances will not only have a positive effect on your bank account, it will also give you peace of mind and a solid financial foundation you can rely on. It’s not too late to begin your 2016 New Year’s financial resolution!

For help with your financial needs, call (866) 736-2444 today.  http://www.semaphoretax.com/

 

Written by Kaley Halliburton

 

LINKS TO TOOLS MENTIONED ABOVE:

IRS Tax Calendar

https://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/IRS-Tax-Calendar-for-Businesses-and-Self-Employed

Mint

https://www.mint.com/

Billguard

https://www.billguard.com/

 

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