I’ve partnered with Fidelity & MEFA in support of the U.Fund 529. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
I’m not sure I ever make them, or make them and keep them, because it seems so wide and untethered to me. It’s almost like it’s something I can’t quite touch. 2016 was a weird year for me. In some ways, I met life goals head-on. I wanted to be active consistently, and I nearly pulled that off for a full year. (summer’s humidity gets me) I wanted to visit my #1 life travel dream – Alaska – and that happened in spades. I also made some good career moves and went to Blogger Bash NYC. I made new friends, wore my heart on my sleeve just a bit more, and sent to kids to healthy, nurturing school environments.
One thing I love is to make specific goals – smaller resolutions. Do I stick to them? You bet I do! It’s not easy, but I’m an all or nothing person. When my mind is set, I want to soar. There are different parts of my life, and when it comes to finances, that’s where I really want to make improvements! I love to make small resolutions – but with the big picture fully in focus.
Five Financial New Year’s Resolutions For Parents:
1 – Make your financial resolutions a family thing. I know my kids are young, but I do believe they can learn good habits from us, as well as bad habits if we’re not careful. I think any opportunity to teach kids about saving money, budgeting, and the value of money can really help you all grow together and get your finances in order. These basic money concepts can be taught pretty young. Raising financially savvy kids helps the WHOLE family. We grow stronger and savvier together.
2 – Pay bills right after you get paid. A genius concept, right? And yet, I never seem to do it! I believe it helps me get a better sense of what I can truly afford and what I can’t. It also helps credit, by avoiding late payments.
3 – Add one month’s pay to your emergency fund. Do you have a rainy day fund? We haven’t had one and 2017 is looking to be the year to start one. It’s really important. While it won’t happen overnight, start with the goal of adding a month’s income to your savings over a full year. A lot can happen in a year, but this slow process will protect against added debt.
4 – Focus on your health. There is a connection between physical and emotional health, and you can add financial health to that too. Money is a source of stress, and stress is a source of ill health. It doesn’t quite add up so well, right? If you make small changes to your fitness and diet, and also practice stress relief – like with yoga and/or meditation – this can make you feel better. Feeing better can lead to better financial decisions.
5 – Save ahead for education! Saving and investing are goals that take effort and time before you see results. Investing in your children’s college educations can start NOW! 529 accounts allow you to make regular, tax-free deposits. College costs are expected to increase exponentially in the next several years or decades. MEFA’S U.Fund, the Massachusetts 529 college-investing plan, is a tax-advantaged college savings plan professionally managed by Fidelity. MEFA is a non-profit state authority that works to make higher education more accessible and affordable.
*Bonus tip – make a realistic budget and stick to it!