HAPPY NEW YEAR, folks!!!
Time for the obligatory post on New Year’s Resolutions, haha…Which I still very much love despite all the hate they garner ;) Why NOT start a Big Hairy Goal as they say, while you’re motivated and roaring to go? You could have done it any other day as well, but you didn’t – so today’s the day!
And I have a bunch of ideas for you to choose from if you’re lacking in the creativity department :) I was just going to list out all my *own* resolutions here for you today, but realized I’ve already pretty much done that and really don’t want to bore you all over again. I only have one main one anyways!
My New Year’s Resolution: be a stay-at-home daddy blogger!
(Not to be confused with “a blogger who stays at home writing about being a daddy”, btw, although depending on how wild it gets, I may just have enough material for that too ;))
On a more silly note, here’s a list of the past 17 resolutions of mine over the years since I’ve been tracking… See if you can catch the one I suck at:
- 2000: Have better handwriting (F)
- 2001: Have better handwriting (F)
- 2002: Have better handwriting (F)
- 2003: Have better handwriting (F)
- 2004: Have better handwriting (F)
- 2005: Have better handwriting (F)
- 2006: Have better handwriting (F+)
- 2007: Have better handwriting (F)
- 2008: Start a budget and learn more about money in general (A+)
- 2009: Pay off car loans, blog better, write more handwritten letters (B)
- 2010: Max out retirement accounts? (A+)
- 2011: Work for myself for 12 months without applying for a job (A+)
- 2012: Work 50% less, but make 50% more (C)
- 2013: Keep stuff simple (A)
- 2014: Start acting more like an “adult” (A+ until baby #2 came, then D+)
- 2015: “Live more” (B)
- 2016: Go “all in” on projects since you just gave up a million dollar buy out! (A+)
- 2017: Be a stay-at-home daddy blogger (???)
I like how it went from lifestyle stuff, to straight up money goals, and then back to the lifestyle stuff again :) Which is a great benefit, btw, once you finally get your finances on track! And having recently cut out 50% of my work time already for this year’s goal, I’m liking the odds so far of pulling it off…
But enough about me, let’s talk about you!
If you’re still here reading, I’ve got a handful of great ideas for ya today that’s bound to impress the pants off your wallet ;) Go for a home run with just one, or try knocking out a handful of these and get your wallet to take off its shirt too! Hubba hubba!!
<< Goes looking for a gif to accurately portray a naked wallet, comes back with John Travolta >>
Some Good Financial New Year’s Resolutions To Steal….
Alright, here’s a bunch of goals you can run with if you’re inclined… The only rule is that if you do any of them, you have to come back here later and let me know how it went, deal? Deal.
#1. Start a budget! (You knew it was coming…)
If you’re already FIRE’d up and got your money on lock you can skip over this one, but if you’re new in the journey and just don’t know where the hell to start, let this be the push you need to figure out once and for all where all your money’s going. If you don’t want to budget-budget, at least start tracking all your *expenses* for three months so you can get a better (and more accurate) lay of the land!
Here’s a bunch of spreadsheets I’ve collected over the years, including some that I’ve used myself:
- Best Free Budget Templates
- The Early Retirement / Financial Freedom Spreadsheet (not “budgeting” so much, but still fun!)
#2. Start a side hustle
Try to make an extra $1,000 on the side this year! Extra money is worth so much more than “regular” money because it’s not already divvied up and accounted for six ways from Sunday. So anything you earn on the side can be thrown right at your goals to amplify the process even faster!
Here’s a list of over 70 ideas we’ve featured here before, if it helps: Side Hustle Series
Who knows, maybe one of them will completely change your life in the process like it did mine! This blog was a total accident in the money-making department, but it sure did open up a lot of new doors for me over time! From new friends to projects to new skills, you name it. Probably good to pick a hustle with a more guaranteed payout if you’re on a financial *mission* here, but the point is side gigs can do a lot more for you than simply fill up your wallet. You just have to be willing to put yourself out there and get your hustle on.
#3. Fill up an Emergency Savings fund
I know not everyone agrees with this, but from where I stand you really can’t go wrong with sitting on cash. Particularly if you’re starting out in your journey! Try to hit $1,000 in a side savings account for emergencies, and if that becomes too easy for you, jack it up to $3,000 by year’s end :) You get that and you’ll be sleeping a bit better every night… And can then work towards more fun areas of finance like investing!
#4. Finally get life insurance!
Particularly if you have kids and/or a husband/wife/ferrets/people who count on you/your income/etc… And most times you’re just fine with *Term Life* vs any of the fancier policies out there. It’s as straightforward (and cheap) as it gets:
You die, your beneficiary gets the pot of money.
You live, they don’t.
You don’t have to take out a million dollar policy either, but it should at least cover all debts you have (mortgage, loan, c/c), and at the VERY least should provide your loved ones with enough to cover your funeral costs if the fateful day should ever come… Because believe me – the last thing they’ll want to deal with is money when they’re grieving, unless it’s money you’re leaving them! (OPAH!)
Here’s a great calculator by Haven Life to figure out how much you need: Term Life Insurance Needs Calculator. They’re also a great place to pick up dependable term life insurance btw: HavenLife.com. Really like those guys, and wish they were around when Mrs BudgetsAreSexy and I were first getting our policies together, as it took us weeks to get ours! Haven Life has completely changed the insurance game by moving the process of applying for and buying a term life policy *online*. And they’re also backed by MassMutual which is nice. In fact, if you’re healthy enough, in some cases you don’t even need a medical exam, which is based on health information in the application. The most annoying part of picking up a policy!
Once you cross that New Year’s Resolution off your list and are feeling good, take it a step further and then write a You’re Welcome note to your significant other on how to spend this insurance money ;) They’ll love you for many years beyond the grave! Haha…
(We both rock $350,000 of term life @ 30 years each, btw, which costs us $30.99/mo and $24.57/mo respectfully. This was back when we had a $350k’ish mortgage and didn’t have kids yet, so probably good for us to sit down and re-assess ourselves, now that our lives are completely different…)
#5. Speaking of life insurance, make sure your *beneficiaries* are set up properly!
Here’s a super easy win that should only take you a handful of minutes. Log into all your investment/retirement/insurance accounts, and then make sure your beneficiaries are set up exactly how you want them. Especially if we’re talking accounts that are now decades old!
Check out this freaky article I recently read:
“Beneficiary designation almost always trumps a will or trust. Even if you spent a few thousand dollars creating a trust that details your wishes for your assets, the company managing your assets is obligated to follow the instructions on the most recent beneficiary designation on file.”
ACK! Good to know!! Here’s a list of accounts they recommend double checking on:
- Retirement accounts with your employer (401(k)s, 403(b)s, TSPs, etc)
- All IRAs (Roth, Traditional, SEP)
- Life insurance policies
#6. Pay off a credit card, or any other annoying debt
Most people have more than one loan going on, but if you can at least nix one debt with each passing year, your cash flow – as well as your confidence – will get stronger and stronger as you go. I prefer the Debt Snowball route of knocking off the smaller ones first and working your way up (because I’m more emotional in nature), but if you’re a more logical person, then of course tackling the debts with the highest interest rates first will make the most sense to you. At the end of the day though, so long as you get them *all paid off* it really doesn’t matter how you do it. It’s the end results that count!
#7. Max out a retirement account! Any retirement account!
Pick any retirement account you want – Roth, Traditional, SEP – it will all help you become a millionaire sooner than later, even if that’s all you ever do each year!! 70% of my net worth is solely based on just maxing out my retirement accounts year in and year out… Which doesn’t exactly mean it’s *easy*, but again – if that’s all I ever pull off and do nothing else, I know it’s just a matter of time until I cross into that elusive Million Dollar Club. A great resolution to go after if you’re ready to push it into overdrive.
#8: Work less / Live more
Okay, this is the ULTIMATE challenge for anyone who just can’t step away from all the hustling! :) A good problem to have vs the opposite, but still a problem no less that takes some hardcore patience to fix. In fact, this is my third shot at it myself over recent years, and I still haven’t quite figured it out! Haha… Though reading and actively working on it certainly helps. I know I talk about this book all the time, but seriously – Essentialism was a game changer for me that really helped turn the tides. Strongly recommend if you’re a compulsive project starter/workaholic.
#9. Lastly, if all else fails, try complaining less! :)
I know it sounds silly, but one of the most powerful challenges I ever tried was cutting down on all my complaining. I gave it up one year for Lent (40 days), and I’ve never been the same since.
YOU REALLY DON’T RECOGNIZE HOW MUCH YOU DO IT UNTIL YOU TRY STOPPING!!
It’s crazy! And then you see just how much all your friends and family do it too which drives you bonkers, haha.. I’ve probably cut down my complaining by a solid 95% since taking this challenge, and have since re-trained my brain to look for resolutions first before spouting out from the mouth (or at least complaining quietly to myself when I do ;)). This will improve your life, your money, relationships, happiness, and just being a better person all around.
I’ve always loved this from Sidney Poitier:
“I always wanted to be someone better the next day than I was the day before.”
BOOM! The whole point of New Year’s Resolutions, isn’t it? To be better this year than you were before? Most of us might end up failing in these resolutions, but typically they’re only replaced by other – more immediate – smaller missions as the months tick by.
I think that’s why so many people are against setting resolutions up in the first place. Not because they don’t want to hit a huge goal, but because they tend to focus on only that *one* goal shared around to the world, and forget about all the tiny wins they’ll go on to accrue in its place.
Have you ever met anyone who didn’t accomplish a single thing in a year?? I haven’t. There’s always *something* you can be proud of achieving over the months, it just sometimes gets a little lost in the shuffle of life.
Perhaps we need a “List Out All Your Accomplishments” Day on December 31st before rolling right into these resolutions?! :) I guarantee people would feel much better about themselves then, haha…
Anyways – there you have it. 9 not really new, but still good to shoot for, financial ideas up there to choose from if you’re lost… Pick one or pick all, but either way pick something to go after! Always better to over aim than not to aim at all!
Happy new year, everybody!
PS: This post was in collaboration with HavenLife.com, even though I ended up straying a loooong ways away from our original idea haha… Which tells you just how passionate I am about this stuff! As well as my words about them. An innovator trying to make this life insurance stuff a lot more accessible and easier on everybody, and from what I’ve seen so far they’re accomplishing the mission. Per their legal department: This discussion is educational only. Haven Life doesn’t offer legal, tax or investment advice. Haven Term is a Term Life Insurance Policy (ICC15DTC) issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111 and offered exclusively through Haven Life Insurance Agency, LLC.
Jay loves talking about money, collecting coins, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his three beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!