Financial Fresh Start: 15 Ideas to Transform Your Finances in 2024

Didn’t get around to making New Year’s resolutions? It’s not too late to start some good financial habits for 2024.  Not sure where to start? Here are 15 ideas to get you started!

  1. Review Your Financial Goals: Start by revisiting your financial goals. Are there any new goals you want to set for the year? Whether it’s saving for a vacation, paying off debt, or investing for retirement, having clear objectives will guide your financial decisions.
  2. Create or Update Your Budget: Establish a budget or update your existing one. Track your income, expenses, and savings goals. Ensure your budget aligns with your financial objectives and makes room for both planned and unexpected expenses.
  3. Check Your Emergency Fund: Confirm that your emergency fund is adequate. Depending on your specific situation, somewhere between three to six months’ worth of living expenses in a cash or money market account is a good rule of thumb. If your emergency fund falls short, prioritize building it up.
  4. Review Your Retirement Contributions: If you have a retirement account like a 401(k) or an IRA, assess your contribution levels. Consider increasing your contributions to take advantage of tax benefits and accelerate your retirement savings.  At a bare minimum, ensure you are contributing enough to get your company match.
  5. Maximize Tax-Advantaged Accounts: Make sure you’re contributing to tax-advantaged accounts like Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) or Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) if applicable. Maximize contributions to benefit from tax advantages and save for healthcare or other eligible expenses.
  6. Rebalance Your Investment Portfolio: Review your investment portfolio to ensure it aligns with your risk tolerance and financial goals. Rebalance if necessary to maintain your desired asset allocation.
  7. Tax Planning: Start planning for taxes early in the year. Gather your tax documents, and if you anticipate a tax refund, decide how you’ll use it to meet your financial objectives.
  8. Insurance Review: Review your insurance policies, including health, auto, home, and life insurance. Ensure your coverage is adequate and consider shopping around for better rates if necessary.
  9. Debt Management: If you have outstanding debts, create a plan to pay them off. Prioritize high-interest debts and consider debt consolidation or refinancing options to lower interest rates.
  10. Set Up or Update Financial Accounts: If you don’t already have them, consider setting up accounts like a Health Savings Account (HSA), Roth IRA, or brokerage account. If you have existing accounts, review and update beneficiary information if needed.
  11. Educational Savings: If you have children, review your savings plan for their education expenses. Consider using tax-advantaged accounts like 529 plans to save for educational goals.
  12. Estate Planning: Review your estate plan, including your will, power of attorney, and healthcare directives. Make any necessary updates to reflect your current wishes.
  13. Financial Education: Invest in financial education. Read books, take courses, or seek advice from financial professionals to enhance your financial knowledge.
  14. Set Financial Milestones: Establish financial milestones for the year. These could include paying off a specific amount of debt, reaching a savings target, or increasing your retirement contributions.
  15. Automate Savings: Consider automating your savings by setting up automatic transfers to your savings or investment accounts. This ensures that you consistently save throughout the year.

Remember that personal finance is unique to each individual or family. Tailor these tasks to your specific financial situation and goals, and don’t hesitate to seek guidance from a financial advisor or planner if you need assistance with your financial planning for the year ahead.