We’ve come into a new year, which means it’s time for some financial resolutions. According to research by Scranton University, 45% of Americans create new goals every year. And if you’re like most people, you probably have a few financial resolutions in mind.
When I first started blogging many years ago, I would write a post each January about the financial resolutions I had in mind for myself. Of course, this was back when I was still writing for myself (I needed to get my shit together) instead of writing for a large audience.
Things have changed a bit since then. I’ve nailed many of the my past financial resolutions, including quitting my job and more than doubling my income, but I also have so many people coming to me for some advice about what they should do with their money.
Before proceeding, I should mention I’m not a financial planner. I’m just someone who had to figure out her finances and now writes about money for a living. My honorary degree in finance is from the School of Life.
And so, without further ado, here are some financial resolutions for millennials in the new year.
Make More Money
This should go without saying, but your greatest asset is your earning potential. It’s taken me a few years to really learn this, but you can always make more money. It’s also easier than ever thanks to the new economy. Start freelance writing, get a new job, ask for more money, sell used stuff online – there are endless opportunities for making more cash.
Commit to Your Business
Everyone always has “start a business” on their five year plans but so few actually follow through. Additionally, according to a survey from Bentley University, millennials don’t really dig the corporate ladder idea and an overwhelming majority want to have their own business. Rather than have “start a business” as a part of your financial resolutions, I want you to commit to your business. I was “starting a business” for years. It wasn’t until i committed that I started making money. (P.S. If you want to pick my brain about this sign up for a Make Money Your Honey mini session.)
Figure Out What You Value
You can learn a lot about what people value by noticing how they spend their money. Figuring out what you value is also the best freakin’ way to budget without so much stress. The idea is simple: spend money on what truly matters to you and forget everything else. But in order to do that, you need to figure out what matters to you. You can check out my How to Go on a Date With Your Budget video for more instruction on how to do this.
Organize Your Finances
Most people can’t find a financial document if they need one. They also freak out every time taxes come around and don’t really have an idea of where they stand financially. You can solve all of these problems by finally organizing your financial life. Check out The 5 Step Guide to Decluttering Your Finances for More.
Pay Off Your Consumer Debt
If you have outstanding consumer debt you need to pay that sucker off ASAP. As The Debt Free Guys say, debt anchors your money to your past. The only way to break free of this vicious cycle is to pay off the debt and do some soul searching as to why you keep overspending. There are more blogs about debt than I can count, but some of my favorites include The Debt Free Guys, Dear Debt, My Fab Finance and The Budgetnista.
Get Yourself a Freakin’ Accountant
So this isn’t exactly a financial resolution for every millennial, but it is for those of you who run your own businesses or have a more complicated tax situation. Don’t mess with the IRS and avoid the stress of taxes by hiring a good accountant. Trust me, it’s a life saver.
Sock Away Money Into a Retirement Account
I don’t care how much time you think you have until retirement, you need to start saving now. In fact, now is when you can afford to be aggressive because you may not have major financial obligations like a mortgage and kids. If you have a company sponsored 401k plan sign up. If you’re taking care of retirement yourself (as all us self-employed people do) I highly recommend setting up an account with Betterment. I’ll have a full Betterment review published on the blog soon – for now all you need to know is they rock. Click here to get your Betterment account through my link and get your fees waived for 90 days.
Build an Emergency Fund
Emergencies happen, and, unfortunately many people ending up slapping the expense on a credit card (only furthering their debt issues). Imagine not having to worry about money the next time you have to cover your share of medical expenses or the car breaks down. That is the beauty and peace of mind that an emergency fund can bring to your life. Experts say you should have three to six months of living expenses saved up
Sign Up for a Digit Account
Digit makes saving money stupid simple and very painless. All you have to do is link your checking account to Digit’s high yield savings account. Digit then makes tiny deposits based on your spending habits. A few cents here, a few bucks there. Before you know it you have hundreds saved up. Click here to get your own account through my referral link – it’s easy and free!
Hang Out With People You Want to Be Like
You are the sum of the people you hang out with. When I started hanging out more with bad ass entrepreneurs and people who wanted to take control of their finances I started making more money. Coincidence? I think not.
Build Multiple Streams of Income
American millionaires have an average of seven streams of income. Seven! In my business, I currently have two main ones (writing and coaching) and about four others that supplement (sponsorship opportunities, affiliate sales, books sales, Academy memberships). I will be adding a few more to the list as time goes on. While it takes some time to build multiple streams of income it is totally worth the effort once you see the money starting to come in. Additionally, you have peace of mind knowing that you have money coming in from different places.
Work on Your Money Mindset
Mindset is everything when it comes to money. In fact, money is more about psychology than actual numbers. It’s by consistently working on your mindset about money that you begin to attract more of it and handle any bumps in the road. Fortunately for you, I wrote an entire book about this. You can pick up Make Money Your Honey on Amazon.
Find Ways to Feel Abundant No Matter What
Sometimes we feel broke. The problem is the more broke we feel the more broke we become. That’s why it’s important to find ways that make us feel abundant no matter what. For example, sitting on my back porch sipping tea makes me feel abundant and it costs me nothing. For more on this I highly recommend checking out The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte (affiliate link).
Nothing gets you out of a mental money shit storm like gratitude. If you’re ever feeling crappy about your financial situation start giving thanks for what you do have. In fact, I’d take it a step further and start saying gratitude all the time. I found 50 cents at the bottom of my purse and immediately said “Thank you, angels!” If we want abundance we must acknowledge the abundance we already have.
Ditch Your Big Bank
I’m willing to bet you probably lost a lot of money to ridiculous bank fees last year. The solution is to ditch your big bank and go online. I left Bank of America years ago for Capital One 360 (It was ING Direct back then. That’s how long I’ve been banking with them) and I’m never going back to the brick and mortar banks. No fees, higher interest on savings and checking. No brainer. Click here to open up a Capital One 360 account through my referral link and we each get some cash.
Read Money Blogs
If you really don’t know where to start with any of this I would recommend reading some personal finance blogs. This is what started it all for me back in 2010 when I was broke and unemployed. By constantly education myself (and making friends!) I’m able to keep improving my financial situation. There are a lot of personal finance blogs – like a lot. Fortunately, J. Money from Budgets Are Sexy created a directory of personal finance bloggers worth following.
Even if you pick just one of these financial resolutions for millennials I promise you’ll be better off. Money is a journey that starts and continues with baby steps. Take a step today by choosing the financial resolution that most resonated with you.