Another year has arrived and thus begins my annual review of where I am and where I’m headed, always with a goal of making “this” the “best” year financially, professionally and personally. I actually put myself through a semi-formal 3-step process, which I call the “3Rs”: I reflect on what I’ve accomplished, learned and completely dropped the ball on; I resolve on which areas to focus in the new year; and, probably the most difficult, I “release” – that is, shake off – the times I overindulged spending-wise so that I can truly make a fresh start.
Even if your follow-through on your New Year’s resolutions has been lacking, each day represents a fresh opportunity to make a positive change. And in the spirit of paying it forward this month, which is also National Mentoring Month, here is a curated list of financial tips and tricks for building your financial confidence and achieving a new or better “financial you,” inspired by the members of the Citi-sponsored Connect Professional Women’s Network:
- Take responsibility for your own financial security, whether you’re single or in a relationship.
- Learn as much as you can about money, especially investing, as early as possible.
- Track expenses and cash flow carefully, even when times are flush.
- Practice financial self-control: don’t blur the line between needs and wants.
- Have a “Oh Sh**” fund for unanticipated expenses.
- Start saving for retirement early and save more as you earn more.
- Keep a lid on debt: pay off your credit card balance each month.
- Use online bill pay services to reduce missed payments and eliminate late fees.
- Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate when it comes to salary and compensation.
- Learn from your financial mistakes.
- Diversify your investments.
- Help the children in your life to develop healthy money habits.
- Prepare for the unexpected: have a plan B (and C and D).
- Work with a qualified financial professional to help put together and stick to your plan.
- Don’t let being short on time overshadow your long-term financial readiness.
Adapted from the author’s The “Oh Sh**” List + 14 Other Invaluable Financial Lessons You Need to Know Now post published on LinkedIn in 2013.