Financial Resolutions – Seven Simple Strategies to Improve Your Finances in 2022
investing-my-money | Read Time: 3 minutes
By Raymond J. McCaffrey, CFA® | Published: November 2021
With the year ending, many of us begin thinking about what we want to accomplish next year and in the long term. For some it is committing to a healthier diet, getting more exercise, spending more time with family, going on more adventures or saving more in the future.
There are simple strategies to think about planning for financial resolutions. Here are seven ways to get there.
- Save more for retirement - If you are already saving for retirement, try to increase the amount you put away each month. If you are not yet saving, now is the time to start. If your company has a 401(k) plan, that is a great way to save. Your money will be automatically withdrawn from your account before you get paid. This “forced savings plan” puts structure around your retirement plan. A Roth IRA is also a great way to save for those that do not have a 401(k) plan or want to add onto current savings methods. Using after-tax dollars to fund a Roth IRA allows the money to grow until retirement with no taxes being due when you begin withdrawing your savings after age 59 and a half.
- Pay off credit card debt - Your goal should be to pay off credit card debt each month, as they have the highest interest rates of most consumer loans. Remember to always pay more than the minimum required and don’t take out more debt while you’re still paying off your current card(s). If you owe on more than one credit card, pay off the one with the highest interest rate first, then put your money toward the card with the next-highest interest rate until all your debt is paid.
- Create an emergency fund - If you don’t have an emergency fund, make a 2022 goal to start building one. You should aim to have around six months’ worth of expenses in a savings account to get you through some “rainy days.”The economy is more precarious than usual right now, so building toward this goal can give you peace of mind if the unexpected happens.
- Review your insurance - Insurance is a large but necessary expense in our lives—home, auto, health, life, and possibly disability insurance. Now is the time to make sure you are not over-insured or underinsured. Can you save by bundling your home and auto insurance with one carrier? Is your health plan right for you based on your age and current health status? Do you have enough life insurance for your spouse and children should tragedy strike?
- Evaluate Your Income and Finances - In addition to saving more and spending less, trying to boost your income is also beneficial. Searching for a higher paying job, seeking employment with better benefits, reducing or eliminating commuting costs, or moving to an area with a lower cost of living can all have a substantial, positive impact on your finances. Look to generate alternative income streams, such as freelance work, side hustles, and passive income (real estate rentals and/or dividend paying stocks) to create financial flexibility.
- Improve your Credit Score - Check your credit report for errors, pay your bills on time, and keep your “credit utilization” under 30%. Credit utilization is the amount of debt outstanding on your revolving credit sources, like credit cards or home equity lines, as a percentage of your available credit. Also, open a credit card if you do not have one but use it wisely. By sticking to this plan, your credit score should improve over time.
- Improve your fitness level - Physical health can lead to financial health. Money and the economy are one of the biggest sources of stress at almost every income level. Making small, but effective changes to eat better (cooking at home is healthier and cheaper), increase exercise and focus on what is important can lead to feeling better and making smarter financial decisions over the long-term.
The key is consistency. By sticking with these seven simple strategies, you should achieve financial success over time.
About the Author – Raymond J. McCaffrey, CFA®
Raymond J. McCaffrey, CFA®, has over 30 years of investment experience managing institutional, mutual fund and high net worth accounts. He serves as CIO and Managing Director for Cypress Capital Management, a subsidiary of WSFS. Ray graduated, cum laude, from Villanova University in 1985 with a B.S. in Economics. He received an M.B.A. with a concentration in Finance in 1987 from Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business. Ray is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).
This article is provided by Cypress Capital Management, LLC ("Cypress" or the "Firm") for informational purposes only. Investing involves the risk of loss and investors should be prepared to bear potential losses. Past performance may not be indicative of future results and may have been impacted by events and economic conditions that will not prevail in the future. No portion of this commentary is to be construed as a solicitation to buy or sell a security or the provision of personalized investment, tax or legal advice. Certain information contained in this presentation is derived from sources that Cypress believes to be reliable; however, the Firm does not guarantee the accuracy or timeliness of such information and assumes no liability for any resulting damages.
Cypress is an SEC registered investment adviser that maintains a principal place of business in the Greenville, Delaware. The Firm may only transact business in those states in which it is notice filed or qualifies for a corresponding exemption from registration requirements. For more information about Cypress’ registration status and business operations, please consult the Firm’s Form ADV disclosure documents, the most recent versions of which are available on the SEC’s Investment Adviser Public Disclosure website at www.advisorinfo.sec.gov. Cypress is wholly owned by WSFS Financial Corporation.
Has another year really gone by? Seems impossible. For many of us, life is busy, advancing our careers, raising children, moving, and traveling just to name a few things. Still, it is important to stay financially focused, and the last quarter of the year is a great time to revisit your finances and build a plan for the upcoming year.Read More
Having a go-to person in life is always a plus. In this fast-paced world we live in, where interactions happen via online chats or through automated voice recordings, it is still important to forge personal relationships. While many banks offer personal service, there are also others who act as dedicated, hands on concierge bankers. If you’ve never worked with a private banker, you might not be aware of what they can offer. Here is what you need to know about private bankers and the benefits of their services.Read More
The markets and the economy are ever-changing, making it hard to keep up sometimes. Let WSFS help you make sense of it all. Tune in to our Market Minute update from Andrew N. Davis, CFA®, Director of Research at West Capital Management, a subsidiary of WSFS Financial Corporation.Read More
For many Americans the thought of early retirement can be very appealing. For those that enjoy their career, having the flexibility to spend more time with family, travel, play golf or enjoy other activities during “normal’ work hours can lead workers to contemplate early retirement.Read More
When it comes to saving for retirement, many of us are already familiar with the primary investment savings vehicles offered to us, the individual retirement account (IRA) and the employer-sponsored retirement account, such as the 401(k) and 403(b). However, if you are fortunate enough to work for a company that allows it, you may be able to take advantage of what is known as the “mega backdoor” Roth IRA.Read More