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1. Be grateful for what you have.
While it’s easy to focus on the future and on the things you want to accomplish, take time today and reflect upon all the wonderful blessings you have in your life.
2. Set up a Personal Capital account.
This is by far the best free financial tool on the web. Personal Capital quickly aggregates all of your accounts so that you can view and analyze your net worth, budget, and investments.
3. Put together a plan to pay off debt.
I hate debt with a passion. Getting rid of my mortgage was by far the best financial thing that I ever did. I couldn’t recommend it more.
4. Conduct a time audit.
Ensure that you are making the most of your time. Take a look over a week and see what your top time-spending categories are. Are you happy with your findings, or do you see an opportunity to readjust?
5. Maximize your retirement account contributions.
The government allows you to contribute up to $18,000 towards your 401k and contribute up to $5,500 towards your Traditional or Roth IRA. Look for ways to increase your savings rate until you are able to fully fund these accounts.
6. Figure out when you can retire.
Most people think that they’ll be able to retire when they are 65 and can receive social security. Wouldn’t it be nice to retire 5, 10, 20 or even 30 years earlier? Take the steps to figure out when you can truly retire.
7. Set attainable goals for 2017.
With a new year here, set up good habits and break the bad ones. Find an accountability partner to help hold you accountable for your 2017 goals.
8. Determine long-term goals.
It’s too easy to get bogged down in the minutia of everyday life. Set some big, long-term dreams and take steps towards them.
9. Take a vacation.
In the go-go pace of life, it’s easy to get burned out from work and life in general. Studies have shown that workers that take time off end up earning more money than those who don’t.
10. Learn something new.
Take time to stretch yourself and learn something new. One of my stretch goals this year will be to learn Spanish with my wife.
11. Continue learning.
I am a huge fan of reading books to learn as much as I can. I try to read a wide variety of books to expand my horizons. Ever since I started using the Amazon Kindle, I read multiple books at a time. The best part is being able to download books from the library for free. Plus, if one of the books that I’m reading is terrible, I can quickly return it and move on to the next great read.
12. Check your insurance.
Did your insurance bill go up? Are you underinsured? This is the time to review your coverages across auto, life and home insurance to make sure your coverages are adequate.
13. Conduct a financial checkup.
Most doctors recommend that you get a yearly checkup. So, shouldn’t you also conduct a financial checkup at least once a year as well? This is a great time to look at your bills and finances to see if you should make any adjustments. Is now the time to cut the cord in certain areas? Take a look at your finances and see if some surgery may be necessary.
14. Think about giving back.
Find organizations that line up with your passions and beliefs. Donate your time and money throughout the year. Pay it forward.
15. Adjust your W-4 form, to get a smaller refund.
If you get a big refund from Uncle Sam every year, why? You are giving the government an interest-free loan for no reason. Aren’t there better ways to use that money? Take time to work with your HR rep to adjust your W-4 form.
I recently got back into the exercise routine through a local boot camp. It’s made a tremendous difference in the quality of my life. I feel less tired during the day even though I’m not getting more sleep. Plus there is data backing that there is a correlation between exercising and your paycheck.
17. Treat Yo Self.
Make sure you budget some fun money for yourself throughout the year. There is a fine balance between saving for the future and living in the now. Enjoy your financial journey.