With 2020 marking the beginning of a new decade, it’s the perfect time to give your finances a boost. Here are my top 15 financial New Year’s resolutions that can help improve your financial health.
I’m jumping in with the big ones first….
1. Start investing
Investing should be #1 on your list; I’m always thinking about different ways to obtain stocks, bonds, and other assets that have the potential for a profitable return.
I’m gonna just say it like it is: if you are ending 2019 without any investments, don’t let yourself end 2020 the same way. You could be missing out on big returns! Even if you’ve got just a small amount of money to invest, take my word for it that you want to start now.
If you’re saying you don’t have time, I get it. Investing can take time to understand. But – and here’s the big ‘but’ – investing is also one of the fastest ways to build wealth. While it’s totally possible to invest without the help of an advisor, many of us are choosing the advisor route. Remember that advisor also include robo-advisors, that can help you decide what to invest in including when to buy and sell.
If you’re feeling intimidated by the many investment options out there, check out these platforms that can get you started on any budget; these are the ones that I turn to personally.
With Acorns, you can start investing your spare change. After signing up for a micro-investing account and inputting some financial information, Acorns will create a diversified portfolio that reflects your wants and needs.
Building your wealth through Acorns is as easy as buying your daily cup of coffee. When you make a purchase, Acorns will round your purchase up to the next dollar and invest the difference for you.
Stash lets you start investing for as little as 1 cent. Once you sign up with Stash, you can choose between a variety of different portfolios that take your goals, values, and favorite companies into consideration.
With Stash, you can even invest in partial shares. This means that holding shares in some of your favorite, higher-priced, stocks and funds can be a reality!
M1 Finance gives you all the perks of a robo-advisor and a traditional brokerage for free. After signing up, M1 Finance gives investors the option of building a custom portfolio or choosing from over eighty of their expert portfolios!
The best part about M1 Finance? Through automated investing, you can deposit money and watch it be invested without having to do the heavy lifting.
2. Build your emergency fund
When emergencies happen, you don’t want to be stuck without an emergency fund. Emergency funds can be lifesavers when unexpected challenges make their way into your life, like losing your job or getting into an accident.
Deciding how much money you need in your emergency fund starts by calculating your monthly expenses. This should include not only your rent or mortgage but also utilities and your basic needs. Many financial experts agree that this should be at least three to six months’ worth of expenses.
If you need help calculating how much money you should save in your emergency fund, handy emergency fund calculators exist to help you find your perfect number.
Starting your emergency fund
If you haven’t started an emergency fund yet, don’t get discouraged. Starting one is as easy as opening a savings account and making consistent contributions. No matter how long it takes you to reach your emergency fund goal, the key is to make sure that it gets funded and not left to the wayside. You don’t want to be caught in an emergency and then remember that you forgot to save for it!
My husband and I like to keep our emergency fund in a high-yield savings account. These accounts allow us to access our savings quickly. Even better, high-yield savings accounts accrue interest at a higher rate than a traditional savings account.
Here are three high-yield savings accounts that I recommend:
Capital One 360 Performance Savings
Capital One 360 Performance Savings is one of my favorite high-yield savings accounts. With a 1.80% APY, which is five times higher than the national average rate, your savings could see a big boost from interest alone!
With no minimum deposit to open your account, this fee-free account means that there is no excuse to not start your emergency fund.
CIT Savings Builder
CIT Savings Builder has an APY of up to 1.85% and is one of the best high-yield savings accounts for people who are serious about savings. At account opening, CIT Savings Builder requires a minimum balance of $25,000, or a $100 minimum with a mandatory deposit of $100 or more each month.
This savings account is fee-free, which means that you get to keep all of your money.
3. Pay off your credit card debt
As of June 2019, the average credit card debt per U.S household was $8,398. If credit card debt is bogging down your financial success, why not make it a goal to tackle it in the new year?
Paying off your credit card debt is an important step in becoming financially healthy. If you don’t pay it off, you are doing (both short and long term) a serious disservice to your credit score.
When searching for ways to pay off your debt, I recommend opening a balance transfer credit card. While it may sound counterproductive on the one hand, these cards help you consolidate your debt and even stop it from collecting interest for some time. That’s a big incentive right there!
Here are some of my favorite balance transfer cards.