Well you have likely noticed that it is time for resolutions according to the plethora of fitness equipment and organizational plastic bins on sale in every flyer you open.
It seems fitting that we take a four-step approach to positioning yourself for financial fitness in 2019 and beyond as well.
So first, I am going to go ahead and assume you are human.
Yes? If so, then please know that you are not slacker! Almost every person I have met has something in their financial world they have been meaning to get to but have not so forget the past and let’s move onwards and upwards!
Step 1. Write down your goals. Study after study proves that writing out what it is you want causes the synapses in your brain to reconnect to work towards the goal even when you are not thinking about it.
Step 2. Just do it. Seems I heard that somewhere before but anyways. It is now time to get everything in place.
• Lawyer – call around and get some quotes on having your will prepared with all the necessary paperwork by a reputable lawyer.
• Financial/insurance planner. People who work with a qualified financial planner do much better overall than those who wing it. Meet with a few of them and learn what you need to know so that your pennies turn into a comfortable future.
• Accountant – the onslaught of cheap software makes it very easy to think you can do it all yourself when it comes to your taxes, but a qualified accountant is essential in my opinion. They can literally save you thousands on your tax bill. That’s your money so you should keep it.
• Mortgage professional – your home is your largest asset and your largest debt obligation. Have your mortgage reviewed by mortgage professional to make sure you are in the best mortgage product for your situation now and to meet your goals later.
You’ll have noticed a theme here. You don’t need to know about the law or investments or insurance or taxes or mortgages. All you must do is find yourself a team to protect your interests.
Step 3. Time to automate. Set up to meet your goals automatically. A regular withdrawal for your savings is far less painful and way more likely to occur than if you must sit down each month and choose to transfer the funds.
If your goal is to pay down your mortgage, why not choose to increase your payments slightly rather than worrying about a lump sum later. Bite sized is far easier.
If you are trying to keep a budget there is an amazing app called mint.com. It is from the makers of Turbo Tax. You input all your credit/debit card information, your goals as far as savings or debt reduction and a budget for each part of your life.
Each purchase you make is automatically inputted into the correct category. You can see where you are spending and exactly how much and you will even get text notifications when you are close to your budget in an area.
Step 4. Annual review day. So, you have done the work and so now all you must do is take one day a year off to review. Meet with all your team to ensure you are where you need to be.
Can you increase your mortgage? Is your will reflecting your new spouse or baby? Do you have enough insurance to protect yourself against disability or critical illness?
Spoiler alert! We are all going to need life insurance, disability is the number one cause of foreclosure and even our solid health care system does not cover all expenses so critical illness insurance can save your savings.
And there you have it, financial fitness in four steps. Your future self will thank you. As they say, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best is today.
Pam Pikkert is a mortgage broker with Mortgage Alliance – Regional Mortgage Group in Red Deer.