2009 is upon us and it’s time to think about cleaning up your financial house, so here are some of Oxygen Financial’s top tips to get your financial house in order:
1. Create an automatic savings plan. One easy way to do this is to set up an automatic bank withdrawal, whether it’s going into your savings account, investment account, or something for retirement. It’s simple and effective when you save it on a monthly basis. I’ve always told my clients that by systematic savings it’s like out of mind and out of sight and a good way to help you continue to build your net worth. You’ll be surprised how much you save by the end of the year. Regular investing does not ensure a profit nor protect against loss in a declining market.
2. Review your budget. It’s not just the economy that’s difficult right now. Most people are feeling it in their own personal economy. Now’s your time to sit down and look at whether you’re going to get a pay raise or not for 2009, what expenses are going to be added, and what expenses may go away so you can really manage your family like a business. You should figure out what your income statement is going to look like. Look at things like entertainment, insurance, debt, and hobbies to see if you can save some money. $30 many not sound like much per month in savings, but it can really add up over the long haul if invested properly.
3. Review your portfolio. Look at your 401(k) and other investment portfolios and make sure that you rebalance it based upon the economic downturn last year. Most people make mistakes by not doing important asset allocation things like rebalancing their portfolio. Asset allocation does not ensure a profit against loss in a declining market and investments are subject to market risk and lose value.
4. Review your W-4 exemptions. Make sure you’re not over-withholding or under-withholding the amount of money you need to pay the federal government. Realize that if you over-withhold you’re actually giving the government an interest-free loan.
5. Deal with your debt. Get on top of your debt right now. Figure out which credit cards you’re going to pay off and work out your monthly expenses to give you a way to not increase additional debt if you’re behind the eight ball already.
6. Become a coupon clipper. You should ask about our 50 money-saving Web sites. Most importantly, a little bit of effort and energy on your part to get some coupons before you make a purchase will put additional dollars in your pocket.
7. Get your whole family involved. If you’re married or you have a partner make sure everybody’s on the same page. It’s hard when you have one partner that’s a spender and one that’s a saver. It really takes teamwork to keep the household running efficiently. Talk to your kids about what’s going on in the economy right now to help understand why you might have to say no.
8. Educate yourself. Get one good book during the year or pick one Web site to help you learn a little bit more about the economy and becoming more informed on the decisions that you’re making in your financial life. After all, it is your company.
9. Review your insurance. Now’s a good time at looking to reduce your insurance expenses, and shopping around is the easiest way to save money. Take a look at things such as your life insurance or your home and auto, and see if you can get a better deal for the same value.
10. Get involved in the stock market. If you have the time frame and it’s appropriate for you from a risk tolerance, investment objective, financial needs, and tax bracket perspective, stock prices are fairly low right now. Hopefully the market will recover at some point and if you’re investing money for the long-term you could do well.
These are your top 10 tips from Oxygen Financial in 2009. Call us for a complimentary consultation at 800-355-9318.
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