Five financial New Year resolutions
Any time is good to define your aims and set yourself goals, no matter when you read this, whether in January or at some other time of the year. Exercising, reading more, spending more time with our loved ones or learning a language are some of the most recurrent. Try to avoid vague or unattainable goals and divide them up into small steps. Today we bring you five financial resolutions to get the year off to a good start:
1. “Saving is not just putting money aside, but knowing how to spend it”. Anonymous
Having some savings for contingencies can give us a much-needed break. A notepad or an Excel spreadsheet can help you in this task. There is no one-size-fits-all amount: it depends on the person and their level of income, but it is recommended that you save between 10 and 20% of your salary. Schedule the transfer of a percentage of your salary every time it is deposited in your account, from your everyday account to a separate savings account, or set yourself a weekly goal. There are applications that record and classify your income and expenses or that round up your purchases to help you save.
2. “Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship”. Benjamin Franklin.
In all likelihood, if we go over the last month, all of us would identify small expenses which were absolutely unnecessary. These are known as ant expenses: those that go unnoticed in our day-to-day lives but add up to several hundred euro at the end of the year. Analyse which ones you can do without and look for cheaper or free alternatives.
3. “You're going to need twice as much money in your old age as you think”. Michael Caine.
There are financial products that can help you maintain your standard of living after retirement. You can discuss this with your bank manager, who will offer advice based on your risk profile and current financial position. Private pension or lifecycle plans and investment funds are some options to complement the public pension system.
4. “Know yourself, accept yourself, surpass yourself”. Saint Augustine.
Assess your current financial position. Know your strengths, such as your source of income, employment status and the assets available to you in case of need, and your weaknesses, such as the composition and cost of your debt and the source of your expenses. A check-up a year can’t hurt.
5. “A man who both spends and saves money is the happiest man, because he has both enjoyments”. Samuel Johnson.
You don’t have to give up on indulging yourself once in a while, but do it after you have weighed up your possibilities. If you spend responsibly, you can improve your quality of life without neglecting your savings. Compare prices and think about the possibility of putting off purchases, for instance by waiting until the sales. Educate your children to see the difference between something they need and a whim, and teach them to save part of their pocket money to buy something they want tomorrow and which is worth today’s sacrifice.