No matter where you are financially at the beginning of the year, there’s always an opportunity to invest, build wealth, pay off debt, and end the year better than you started.
That’s why the best New Year’s resolutions are those that will empower you to save money and get your financial house in order.
Not sure where to start? These 15 goals, resolutions, and action items will help you get on track to build wealth in 2024.
Eliminate your late tax debt
Each year, the IRS forgives millions in unpaid taxes. If you have more than $10,000 in tax debt, or have 3+ years of unfiled taxes, you could get forgiveness too. You might be eligible to lower the amount you owe, or eliminate your tax debt completely.
Easy Tax Relief could help you lower or get out of your tax debt for good. They’re well respected in the industry and have been recognized for their ethical standards when dealing with tax debt. While most tax companies just put you on a payment plan and file your taxes for you, Easy Tax Relief talks to the IRS directly. They can help you pay off your tax debt faster while potentially reducing what you owe.
Important: Not everyone will qualify. To take advantage of this special program you must owe more than $10,000 in past-due taxes.
Set goals at the beginning of the year
The best way to reach your money goals is to set money goals. Sit down at the beginning of the year and figure out what you want to achieve.
Do you want to start saving for your children’s college? Do you want to start investing? Are you saving for a down payment? Create specific, actionable, attainable goals.
Automate your savings
If you don’t plan to put money in savings every month, then there’s a good chance life will get busy, and you’ll forget. That’s why automating your savings is the best way to build wealth.
In addition to contributing a percentage of your paycheck to your retirement accounts, set aside an additional amount in your emergency savings and any other target savings you want to work on this year.
Use a 0% interest credit card to pay down debt
Make this the year you pay off your credit card balance completely. One strategy is to make a balance transfer to a 0% interest card to limit the amount of interest you’ll pay on the debt you do have. Not sure where to start? These are the best balance transfer cards to consider.
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Take full advantage of retirement accounts
One of the best retirement planning moves is maxing out your retirement accounts.
Whether you have a traditional IRA, a Roth IRA, or a 401(k) with an employer match, aim to contribute the maximum amount currently allowed. This number will rise to $23,000 in 2024.
Schedule savings and investment check-ins
You may want to change how your money is allocated throughout the year to make sure it’s always doing the most for you.
Schedule quarterly or biannual check-ins to look at how your accounts are growing and how your investments are performing and make any changes as needed. You might find you have more available to save than you did in January.
Tap into a high-yield savings account
There’s no reason to have your money sitting in a standard savings account earning barely above 0% interest when you could put it in a high-yield savings account.
The interest rates on these accounts are one of the positives to come out of the current market, and you may be able to find rates as high as 7%.
Earn more money
The reality is that to build more wealth, you may have to earn more money. That could mean getting a new job, earning a promotion, or asking for a raise.
It could also mean building a passive income stream or starting a side hustle. The goal is to bring more money in the door so that you have more money to save (and spend).
Understand where your money is going
If you don’t know where your money goes every month, it can be difficult to stop excessive spending or stay on a budget.
Even if you don’t want to live on a strict budget, you should still look at your expenses and understand how much is allocated to different areas, including groceries, rent or mortgage, and gas.
One way to get a handle on your spending is to write down every penny you spend during one month. Use a budgeting app that will categorize your spending so you can quickly see where you may be wasting money.
The best way to build a healthy retirement fund is to invest and play the long game. You can either do this through a 401(k) or open a brokerage account where you invest a certain amount of money each month.
You don’t have to invest a lot, but you should start getting comfortable with the idea of the stock market if you want to grow wealth.
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Optimize tax savings
Taxes are necessary, but they also eat away at your wealth. It’s critical to use any tax savings vehicles available to you to keep as much money in your accounts as possible.
Your first step should be to max out your pre-tax retirement accounts, especially if your employer matches your contributions. You can also put money in a health savings account (HSA) or a flexible spending account (FSA) that you can use for medical expenses.
Cushion your emergency fund
Having to resort to a credit card in an emergency is one of the quickest ways to ruin the wealth you’ve built. You’ll face staggering interest rates and spend far more money than you would have if you’d just had an emergency fund.
While you may not like to have money in a liquid account when it could be in the market, it’s important to have cash available to pay for unexpected expenses.
Diversify your portfolio
The savviest investors ensure their wealth is spread among various accounts, so risk is low. Try stocks, bonds, and mutual funds to diversify your portfolio.
And don’t have all of your investments in one company, especially if it’s your employer. If your company runs into trouble, you may lose your investment as well as your job.
Don’t get nervous about the market
The market may go up and down in 2024. That’s the nature of the stock market. But don’t get nervous about volatility.
Instead, just ride the wave. Historically, the market has gone through dips and peaks, and those who stick it out will perform the best over time. Those who sell when their anxiety rises tend to lose money.
Review your insurance
Are you adequately insured if something were to happen? What if there was a house fire or a flood? Some people don’t have the insurance coverage they believe they have, and when something terrible happens, it’s too late to go back and change the policy.
This can be a huge financial hit, particularly if your home or automobile is ruined in a natural disaster or accident. Check your insurance policy and products to ensure you have the coverage you expect.
Build your credit
If you plan to buy a house in 2024, you should improve your credit score. The higher your credit score, the lower your interest rate, which is particularly important right now.
Pay your bills on time, monitor your debt-to-credit ratio, check your credit report three times a year to make sure there aren’t mistakes, and limit the number of new accounts you open.
Your financial New Year’s resolutions are some of the most important resolutions you’ll make. You may resolve to get out of debt or become a savvy shopper. Regardless of your goals, the most critical piece is ensuring they’re attainable.
It’ll only be frustrating if you set resolutions beyond what you can achieve. Be realistic about what’s within reach this year and celebrate every win.
FinanceBuzz is not an investment advisor. This content is for informational purposes only, you should not construe any such information as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.