I find new year’s resolutions a great place to regularly set and review “SMART goals“. I am fortunate to live in Hong Kong, where the January weeks between the western new year and Chinese lunar new year provide a relatively quiet and cleaning-oriented time to both review the resolutions I completed (or not) the previous year, and learn enough to better myself even more with this year’s resolutions. While the most stereotypical new year’s resolutions tend to revolve around physical fitness, I thought it would be worth writing down and sharing three financial new year’s resolutions to improve your fiscal fitness.
Here are 3 of my top recommended financial new year’s resolutions for you in 2019. Do share in the comments or by direct message if any of these especially inspire or motivate you:
1. Write your plan down
This first resolution is so simple, yet so important, that I put it first so that you do this one even if you do none of the others. Your written financial or retirement plan does not need to be complex or long, and even writing one page or e-mail outlining your financial plan can be very powerful in clarifying what you should prioritise to reach those goals. Write a simple version of your plan within the next 100 e-mails or social media posts you write, and be open to revise it later if you need to – the habit of writing down your plan could be one of the most transformative new year’s resolutions you ever make.
2. Clean your financial closet
“Cleaning financial closets” could describe a large percentage of the work I do as a financial planner, but much of this clean-up is simple enough for motivated individuals to do themselves. These tasks can be tedious, but would include:
- Make sure your emergency fund is liquid and earning at least 2.5% (in USD)
- Check the fees and holdings of any old mutual funds
- Review your insurance policies to make sure you have enough, but not too much, coverage
- Ensure all the beneficiaries on your retirement plans, insurance policies, wills and trusts are up to date
- Consolidate accounts, especially smaller retirement accounts from former employers (for example, MPF, ORSO, or 401(k) plans)
3. Read a finance book
Depending what part of your financial life you are most interested in reading and learning more about, there are anywhere from a handful to hundreds of books, articles, and blogs to educate you on investing, financial planning, or retiring overseas. I would of course be biased and recommend my own book as a way to learn about investing, but I would also recommend “The Truth About Money” by Ric Edelman as an introduction to personal finance, and dozens of others across different topics.
Hopefully this post has motivated to you to commit to at least one, if not all three, of these financial new year’s resolutions and guide you towards a lean, mean, clean and green 2019!
Until next time,