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What are Your Financial Resolutions?

18 December 2012

Losing weight, quitting smoking, and a promise to enjoy life more overall are some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions. But wouldn’t you be able to enjoy life more if you took care of some of those nagging financial problems? This is why you should also include some very important financial resolutions along with all your others this New Year’s Eve.

Get rid of your debt
Okay, maybe you won’t be able to complete this one in just 365 days, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get started on it. And if you have debt, don’t do anything else until you have! No you don’t have to wait until all of your debt is paid off to start getting yourself in better financial shape. But now is the time to prepare a budget if you don’t already have one, contribute to your debt servicing costs every month, and to stop taking on more debt.

Review “the small costs” of life
This doesn’t mean that you need to start taking a second look at that daily cup of coffee (although you should do that too.) This resolution is about putting all your interest charges, banking fees, and automatic payment fees under the microscope. Do you think you could get a better deal on your mortgage? Maybe this is the year for home refinancing. Are you paying way too much in banking fees? Maybe January is the month to switch! All of these costs add up, and you need to make sure you check in on them periodically to ensure you’re getting the best deal. The beginning of the year is the perfect time to do it!

Cut your bills
This goes along with both of the top two. By cutting back on your bills, you’ll free up more money to pay off that debt; and you’re probably spending too much on at least a few. Do you really need that HD package for your TV? And how many international calls do you actually make on your home phone? Could that be a cost that’s cut? Go through each bill with a fine-tooth comb and see what you no longer need to be spending on. It’s a ritual that’s worth doing at least once a year.

Put money away
This is a resolution you can make that you can do all year, and that you can stick to! Find an investment that you like, whether it’s the stock market, an RRSP, or even a rental property, and start putting money towards it. Even if you have only a small amount, open an RRSP or TFSA and start putting little bits into it every month. You’ll have so much by the end of the year, this one will end up on your list of resolutions next year, too!

Organize your tax records
If you do this in January, you’ll get well ahead of the March and April rush. But, if you continue to do it after even March and April, you’ll be in better shape next year. Which means you’ll be able to cross this one off your list for 2014!

Write a will
If you don’t already have one, you need to do this. And you shouldn’t even wait until January 1, 2013. It’s just that important. If you do already have one, review it to make sure that it’s still in order the way you’d like and yes, you need to add this one to your list every single year hereafter.

Once you start really considering it and thinking about it, you’ll be amazed at how many financial resolutions you have all around you. Do a quick mental check over your finances, start working on this list, and you’ll be surprised at how many more you come up with.

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