Many of us begin the year with a long list of resolutions, but the hard part is getting those habits to stick, especially when it comes to managing money and improving your finances. While everyone begins with the best of intentions, only about half of all Americans achieve their financial resolutions before year-end. If you find you’re struggling to stay on track, now can be an excellent time to do a financial self-check and make any necessary adjustments. Here are three steps to do mid-year that can help you accomplish your financial resolutions.
1. Visualize future expenses
If you’re asking yourself, “Where did all my money go?” you may need to update how you track your expenses. For larger purchases like home renovations or dream vacations, spreadsheets can be useful, but this method often misses the smaller expenses (and sometimes sneaky expenses worksheet) that can quickly add up and push you over your budget. Instead, visually track your purchases using tools like Pinterest to create an inspiration board for your finances. For instance, if you’re trying to save for an upcoming getaway, pin and price the restaurants, shops, and activities you’d like to include on your trip. This way, smaller expenses are accounted for and you can easily decide if they’re budget-friendly or need to be excluded. Finding ways to boost your financial awareness is key to keeping your spending in check and achieving the goals you’ve set for the year.
2. Leverage financial technology
In this day and age, we walk around with access to technology in the palm of our hands, but your phone can do much more than allowing you to peruse social media — it can be a useful tool to help manage your money. Several apps like Mint and Wally allow you to easily manage your finances in one place by creating budgets, tracking your spending and offering tips that help you achieve your monthly or yearly goals. The You Need a Budget (YNAB) software is designed to help break the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle by allowing users to create budgets only around their actual income. The goal of budgeting is not necessarily to spend less, but spend smarter. Whether you want to pay down debt, save for retirement or purchase a house, you can allocate dollars to each of these goals.
3. Make the most of your savings and investments
Is plumping up your nest egg on your list of resolutions? Now is the time to determine if you’re contributing as much as possible. Since small increases can yield large results, review your budget and see if you can boost your 401(k) contributions. Depending on your financial situation and risk tolerance, you can talk to your financial professional about numerous ways to invest or save for the future. If an annuity is not currently part of your retirement strategy, talk to your financial professional about adding one. A fixed indexed annuity can offer protection from market volatility, while offsetting the risk of outliving your money by creating a steady cash flow in retirement. Remember, there’s no time like the present to start saving for the future. Fortunately, you can choose from a variety of options to create a custom plan that works for you and turns your retirement dreams into reality.
The year’s halfway point is a great opportunity to review your financial goals and determine if they are still in line with your overall objectives. If you haven’t met with your financial professional since January, this is a good time to touch base to review your portfolio and ensure you’re on target for meeting your short- and long-term goals. By taking your financial pulse mid-year, you can maximize the remaining months and up your chances of successfully achieving your resolutions.
The material is a general description intended for general public use. Athene Annuity and Life Company (61689), headquartered in West Des Moines, Iowa, and issuing annuities in 49 states (excluding NY) and D.C., and Athene Annuity & Life Assurance Company of New York (68039), headquartered in Pearl River, NY, and issuing annuities in New York, are not undertaking to provide investment advice for any individual or in any individual situation, and therefore nothing in this should be read as investment advice. This material should not be interpreted as a recommendation by Athene Annuity and Life Company, Athene Annuity & Life Assurance Company of New York or Athene Securities, LLC. Please reach out to your financial professional if you have any questions about Athene products or their features.