The economy still isn’t out of the woods. Many people still feel the pressure of a sluggish financial landscape. As the year begins, it’s good to get some financial goals in place. The fundamentals are a must to start with:
- Spending – Spend less than you make. If you need to make adjustments in your spending, buckle down and do it. Also, you’ll want to include in your budget the next three items.
- Debt – If you have credit card or other unsecured personal debt, work on paying it down. Pay the biggest amount possible on the debt with the highest rate. If you’re working on spending, the debt won’t increase.
- Emergency savings – Put money away for emergencies. You want to have some money that you can use to cover unexpected financial needs. If you have no emergency funds, work toward 5% of your pre-tax income.
- Retirement savings – Things will get better in the financial world, so save toward not having to work to cover expenses. If your employer matches part of what you contribute, get to that level as quickly as possible.
If you’ve got these under control, get with a fee-only financial planner to work on some bigger goals. The financial world will get better. The faster we all get away from the behaviors that brought on the meltdown, the faster the economy will get better.