5 Smart Financial Moves To Start The New Year Off With A Bang

The holiday season brought snow on Christmas Day to the state of Georgia along with some relief around tax breaks that helped both the wealthy and the unemployed. It seemed like everyone’s stocking got a gift or two, but the reality of all these tax breaks will sneak up on us a few years from now. As the New Year gets kicked off, there are some key things you want to be taking action on in respect to your overall financial plan.

  1. Rates will not stay low forever If you have the situation where you can afford to buy a piece of real estate or potentially refinance your home, this would be the time to take advantage of doing that if you haven’t jumped on the wagon already. If you have an adjustable rate mortgage, you should consider getting that locked into some type of fixed rate program. If you cannot refinance and are stuck with a higher interest rate (especially if you are on an interest only note) than you should consider taking your extra cash and paying down debt. If you treat your family finances like a business, a no debt business or a business that has low interest rate loans is more likely to prosper than those that are ladened with debt.
  2. Use the tax ‘patch’ for the next two years If you think that these tax breaks will last beyond 2012, than you should wake up from your dream before it turns into a nightmare. You should strongly consider accelerating tax income into 2011 and 2012 when you review items such as stock option exercising, Roth IRA conversions, capital gain income, or other income shifting strategies. Remember, that we still have to pay down this debt and the money needs to come from somewhere.
  3. Look more globally with your investment strategy – It is quite possible that the United States will not be the dominant economic force over the next 10 to 20 years. Remember to look closely at United States based companies that have a large share of their revenue coming from outside the United States. In addition, you should consider increasing the allocation of your overall portfolio to have more of an international exposure than before. This may be a mix of countries, companies, or a just broad based strategy. Part of these overall strategies is to consider which countries and currencies are getting strong from a world perspective.
  4. Shop All Of Your Bills – Start the New Year off right and keep a copy of every single bill you get in the first quarter. When you get the bill simply call and ask for the area that handles cancellations or discontinuation of service. The customer service representatives in this area are trained to be able to make a deal and save your business. If you like your current vendor but want a cheaper price than this will be the easiest way to go about doing this. Whatever you save monthly be sure to save it in your cash reserve account, investment account, your retirement account depending on your situation.
  5. Learn A Second Skill – My first suggestion here is to learn how to run some type of home based or small business. With unemployment at double digits (on the books), you never know when your company is going to downsize or right size. It is critical in this economy that you learn some other craft, trade, or skill to help make you more marketable if you become unemployed. For some of you it may mean getting additional education while for others it could be starting that small business part time in order to create another potential stream of revenue.

Money is usually at the top of the list for New Year’s resolutions. This year, I would look closely at what is going on in the economy beyond just the regular financial goals you set for yourself. Use these 5 tips to uncork your potential in 2011!

Ted Jenkin, CFP®, AAMS®, AWMA®, CRPC®, CMFC®, CRPS®
Co-CEO and Founder oXYGen Financial, Inc.

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Related Articles – Is A Roth 401(k) Right For Me?10 Small Business Owner Mistakes10 Year End Tax Management Tips for 2010Ted Jenkin discusses financial advice with the Wall Street Journal

oXYGen Financial, Inc. co-CEO Ted Jenkin  is one of the foremost knowledgeable professionals in giving financial advice to the X and Y Generation.

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About the author  ⁄ Ted Jenkin @ Your Smart Money Moves

Ted Jenkin @ Your Smart Money Moves

Hey!

My friends and family all think I’m a workaholic, but I say I’m just a guy that loves to help people do better in life.

My mother is still the only one that calls me by my real name Theodore Michael, my wife calls me Teddy, but for the rest of you it is just plain old Ted.

Ever since I was a little kid, I always loved money and being an entrepreneur. In fact, I still have cassette tapes of me talking to my grandmother at the age of five and my mother tells me all the time how much I played with money as a kid...

Read More About Ted Here

Ted Jenkin is a frequent guest columnist for the Wall Street Journal and Headline News Weekend Express. He is the co-CEO of oXYGen Financial. You can follow him on LinkedIn @ www.linkedin.com/in/theceoadvisor or on Twitter @tedjenkin.

Securities offered through Kestra Investment Services, LLC (Kestra IS), member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Kestra Advisory Services, LLC (Kestra AS), an affiliate of Kestra IS. oXYGen Financial is not affiliated with Kestra IS or Kestra AS. Kestra IS and Kestra AS do not provide tax or legal advice.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those held by Kestra Investment Services, LLC or Kestra Advisory Services, LLC. This is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual. It is suggested that you consult your financial professional, attorney, or tax advisor regarding your individual situation. 

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One Comment

  • Avatar
    Joe
    January 11, 2012

    Great article! I also enjoyed the one done by Investing Ed on Five Smart Financial Moves to Begin the New Year which is found here http://investinged.com/art.php?a=56!

    Keep up the good work!
    – Joe

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