Financial Goals

January 31, 2019
Financial Goals

New Year, New You, right? I’m very Type A and like goals as much as the next planning nerd, but even I am sick of hearing that phrase. However, January is a great time of year for starting over, starting fresh. You may be wondering what you should be thinking about in terms of financial goals for this year, or wondering, what should I tackle now? With that, I have some suggestions:

1. Get your tax papers together.

You should have most of what you need to do your taxes by the end of January. Sometimes, if you are involved in something like a partnership or business that gives you a K-1, you may have to wait longer, but most everything else: W-2’s, 1099’s, etc., must be mailed to you before the end of this month.

2. Pay down debt.

This is always a good goal to start with but make it SMART. A generic goal like, “I want to have my debt paid off” is not very motivating or specific. Try this instead – figure out how much extra per month you can put towards your debts, and then set up a schedule to pay that, with the goal being to have $X paid before the end of the year, or $X per month.

3. Start (or build up) an Emergency Fund.

I used to work for the IRS, so I still have friends there, and I feel for them, considering this shutdown. Not having to work seems like fun and games until you realize you’re not collecting a paycheck. To prepare for this type of thing, I recommend you create an emergency savings account, where the goal would be to save 3 - 6 months of your expenses. This provides you with a cushion for extenuating circumstances such as losing a job or having a medical emergency.

4. Consider hiring a professional to help.

Professionals have tons of education, skill, and resources for helping you save time and money. Consider hiring a CPA to do your taxes. A CPA may find deductions you never thought about before. Consider hiring a financial advisor to help you take the emotions out of investment decisions, especially in this volatile market. Consider working with an advisor to complete a full financial plan. It will help you figure out what you are working with and enable you to set and work towards pursuing important financial goals. Professionals can provide accountability. Remember, a goal without a plan, is just a wish.

 

Any opinions are those of Jill Carr and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete.

Neither Raymond James Financial Services nor any Raymond James Financial Advisor renders advice on tax issues, these matters should be discussed with the appropriate professional.

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