February.1.24‬ Personal Finance‬
Happy new year
Money Matters with Nimi

As we enter the new year, it is quite common for many to set New Year Resolutions for the year ahead. However, one crucial aspect of our lives often gets overlooked – our personal finances.

Our personal finances have a significant impact on every aspect of our lives, so it is essential to prioritize and include financial planning as a core component of your overall planning process. This is the perfect time to reflect on your financial habits and set goals for a prosperous future. Here are 10 financial resolutions that will help you along your journey to financial security in 2024 and beyond.

1. Create a budget
Start the year off right by creating a comprehensive budget. Track your income, expenses, and savings goals to gain a clear understanding of your financial situation. A budget help you make informed decisions and prioritize your spending.

More than ever, we all need to cut back on unnecessary expenses. Review your monthly expenses, subscriptions, dining out habits, and impulse purchases. By reducing or eliminating these expenses, you can free up more money for essentials and to save or invest.

2. Save for emergencies
Building an emergency fund is crucial to protect yourself from unexpected expenses. Aim to save at least three to six months’ worth of living expenses in an interest-bearing account that is separate from your main account. This safety net will provide peace of mind and financial stability during challenging times; they will come.

3. Pay off high-interest debt
Make it a priority to pay off high-interest debt, such as credit card balances or personal loans which come with exorbitant charges. If it is impossible to reduce or repay your debt right now or in the foreseeable future, don’t ignore the letters from lenders. Approach them with transparency and discuss your options.

4. Set savings goals
Identify your short-term and long-term financial goals. Whether it’s saving for a down payment on a house, starting a business, or planning for retirement, set specific targets and create a plan to achieve them. Regularly review your progress so that you can make necessary adjustments when circumstances change.

5. Automate your savings and investments
Take advantage of technology for consistent savings and investments. Set up automatic transfers to your savings account and contribute regularly to retirement accounts or investment portfolios. This approach reduces the temptation to spend and helps you build wealth over time. Identify a sum that you can afford to put away. It needn’t be a large sum; the key is to be consistent. Time and consistency are key to successful saving and investing.

6. Diversify your investments
Review your investment portfolio and ensure it is well-diversified. Spread your investments across different asset classes, such as stocks, bonds, and real estate, to reduce risk and maximize potential returns. Regularly revisit and balance your portfolio to maintain the desired asset allocation. Don’t forget that it is important to diversify outside your primary currency for protection against currency fluctuations. Seek professional financial advice to help you navigate complex financial decisions.

7. Pay attention to your health
We’ve all heard of the adage “health is wealth.” It is true. A heathier lifestyle means fewer medical expenses. If you are healthy, you will have brighter prospects in all aspects of your life. Do you need to lose weight, eat more healthily, or exercise more regularly? Take your health seriously and take concrete steps to improve it. Make this a way of life for your family to ensure that your spouse and children are healthy.

8. Invest in yourself
What is that thing that sets you apart? That God-given talent or passion that you would do for free? Identify and nurture your passion and talent and begin to leverage on it to earn in 2024. What can you do outside your full-time job? If you are unemployed this becomes even more urgent. Have you considered tutoring, consulting, blogging, photography? What are those skills that you need to improve? What training or learning events can you include in your plans? You are your greatest asset so be intentional about investing in yourself.

9. Review your insurance coverage
Regularly review your insurance policies to ensure they adequately protect your assets and loved ones. Too many people get a surprise after receiving some treatment and realising that they are not covered! Evaluate your life, health, home, and auto insurance coverage and make the necessary adjustments as necessary. Shop around for competitive rates to ensure you’re getting the best value for your money.

10. Retirement will come
Retirement often seems so far away and too many people are most unprepared when that time comes. Most of your retirement income will have to come from money you set aside and invest today whilst you are still earning. Do you have a Retirement Savings Account? Do you have any passive income as most pensions are insufficient to fund a retirement lifestyle. Revisit your pension plan this New year and start to put the building blocks in place. Make this an important part of your long-term plans.

11. Put an estate plan in place
No one wants to think about death at the start of a new year, but creating an estate plan should be a financial resolution for everyone. You owe it to your family to put something in place should something untoward happen to you. Meet with an estate-planning attorney who will put you through a relatively simple process to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes through the various estate planning tools. If you already have a will, review it, and update it to make sure that any fundamental changes such as new assets or beneficiaries have been considered.

12. Build giving into your financial plan
Yes, things are difficult right now but there are always people far worse off. Philanthropy is a powerful and effective way to change lives. Determine your area of interest and identify ways in which you can make a positive impact by giving of your time, talent, and treasure.

A gentle reminder: it’s not all about money. The most fulfilling things in life have little to do with money. They have to do with relationships with your partner, your children, your siblings, your parents, your friends. Don’t neglect these in the quest for financial security. Remember to count your blessings in 2024, not only your assets.

May God grant you good health, happiness, peace and prosperity this year and beyond.

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