January 2012


We’re sorry we missed last week’s post! There was an unexpected bout of the stomach flu.

 

Here is January’s review of blog posts.  We hope you find something you enjoy!

 

Get Rich SlowlyDon’t Forget Regret – Use It Instead – Everyone makes decisions they regret, some more than others. If you regret or feel guilty about a financial decision you’ve made, instead of trying to forget it, learn from it and make changes in the future to avoid repeating it.

 

Get Rich SlowlyStealth Savings: Sneaky Ways to Fatten Your Account – If you have trouble saving, whatever the reason, find some “sneaky ways” to help you put money aside.

 

The Simple Dollar Changing Dreams – Your financial goals and dreams can change as time passes. Make sure you prepare yourself for handling those different dreams as they change.

 

WiseBread How to Go on a Financial Detox – A rich life often has little to do with the amount of money you have.

 

Please let us know if you have a favorite financial blog that you think we should be reading.

 

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Throughout the year, it’s easy to get distracted from your finances. Other things in life take up your time and energy, often leaving your finances in the background. As 2012 gets underway, consider setting some time aside to make sure your finances are in order. Working on the following now can help you avoid problems throughout the year when time gets away from you.

 

  • Review your budget – Take the time to review your budget, checking for any obvious changes that may need to be made. Research lower cost alternatives to expenses that seem to have crept up over time. Reallocate dollars that went unspent to expenses that had a shortfall. And if you don’t have a budget yet, create one!

 

  • Review and update your financial goals – Review the progress you made in the past year on your financial goals and add any new goals you may have. Take time to consider what your next step might be in advancing those goals. If your goals are no longer relevant in your life, think about what you want to do with any funds you may have collected for that goal.

 

  • Review your credit report – Help ensure that your identity is safe and that your credit report reflects accurate information. (www.annualcreditreport.com)

 

  • Prepare for tax filing – Even if you know you will be filing an extension, start collecting all the relevant tax information and documents as they start coming in. Ensure everything is ready and in order before you sit down to do your taxes or send the information to your tax preparer to avoid delays and mistakes. Also, if you find that you are getting a large refund or owe a large amount, take the time to review and adjust your withholding to put more money in your pocket throughout the year or ease the pain of a large tax bill next year.

 

  • Set up automatic bill pay – If you have not done so already, and it’s a service your bank offers, you should look into automatic bill pay. This will give you some relief during the year by paying your bills for you, so you won’t have to worry about setting aside time monthly to do so.

 

Obviously, doing the above will not make working on your finances during the year optional. You will still need to spend time on your finances, even if it’s just to make sure you’re avoiding mistakes and problems. But, the above steps will help set up your 2012 finances right.

 

 

  • Disclaimer: The information on this blog is not meant for specific financial advice. The ideas/opinions stated are not suited for everyone, and readers should use their own judgment in applying them in their financial lives.

Sorry we missed last week’s post. We extended our Holiday vacation!

 

Now that 2012 is here, have you thought about what you want to occur this upcoming year? Have you considered any goals you’d like to set for yourself and how to start working toward them?

 

Resolutions are always big this time of year, though as many people will admit, they often only last a few weeks, maybe even a few months, but they rarely lead to permanent changes in your life. Why do you think that is? There are a couple of different reasons we feel like New Year’s resolutions often fail.

 

  • Too Broad – If your resolution is to exercise more, have you decided what that entails? How many times a week are you going to work out? For how long? Doing what activity? At what time of day? If your resolution is too broad, you won’t have any real, tangible way to make a change.
  • Too Big – People often make huge resolutions and try to jump in 100% and get everything done at one time. Then, as time passes, enthusiasm starts to fizzle out, either from lack of results, lack of true commitment, or any other possible excuse people make. Weight lose is a great example since it is a popular resolution. Instead of immediately cutting out everything bad to eat and going crazy dieting and exercising (which often leads to either giving up completely or losing weight and gaining it all right back) think about small, truly sustainable things you can do to realize your resolution. Make one small change at a time and you’ll be more likely to succeed. The weight may come off more slowly, but you’ll be less likely to give up because you feel deprived or frustrated.

 

Do you have a resolution that involves your finances? Maybe there’s something you want to save for or maybe you want to pay down your debt. Does your financial resolution fit one of the descriptions above? Do you have a plan on how you’re going to realize it?

 

Why not turn your resolutions, financial or otherwise, into goals instead? A goal is something much more tangible. It’s something that you’ve planned for and that you have steps in place to realize.

 

How do you turn a resolution into a goal? Just think about it. If your resolution is paying down debt, think about what that entails. Decide on the best debt repayment plan for you life, decide how much extra a month you can afford to use towards paying it down. Then, once you’ve decided on a plan, begin taking small steps to start moving toward that goal.

 

Of course, not all goals are successful just because you’ve planned them out. However, they will be much more likely to be successful than unplanned resolutions. If your New Year’s resolutions are important to you, don’t set them aside until 1/1/13.

 

 

  • Disclaimer: The information on this blog is not meant for specific financial advice. The ideas/opinions stated are not suited for everyone, and readers should use their own judgment in applying them in their financial lives.