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Financial Planning

Refresh your spending habits in the new year

​With the beginning of the new year comes the beginning of many opportunities and the need for a fresh set of financial habits for some. There are many easy ways to keep your head above water this coming year.

Here are some helpful hints from financial advisors who are members of Coppell's Chamber of Commerce.

Keep the splurging in 2016
Typically, people are now recovering from the holiday season when they were living more extravagantly, making this a good time to look at expenditures.  People frequently make purchases at the spur of the moment during the holidays -- look at the previous month and put together a budget.

A lot of people overspend on Christmas, and instead of beating yourself up it is important now to get back on track and make sure that you are staying true to your financial planning. It is a lot like being on a diet.

Get a head start on taxes
Printout your w2 early, or meet with an accountant if you’re self-employed. Get your taxes done and out of the way early. Accountants will be much more available at beginning of January than in April. Be ahead of the game.

It’s definitely good to have a retirement account where you can deduct income from your taxes. People need to live within their means and focus on the most important things first -- necessities like their major bills, a mortgage, all things that could affect your credit.

Set aside some savings
Try to put a monthly amount for an IRA or 401K in your budget. Make sure it increases proportionally if there is an increase in your income. People are more likely to make monthly contributions to things. It's  a successful strategy.

Start from the ground up with an emergency fund; you have to have different forms of risk management and protection like life insurance, then you can start focusing on long term financial goals like retirement.

It’s never too early to plan retirement
Don’t let retirement creep up on you. Have a straightforward plan to start chipping away at the grand task of saving. Start early, stay consistent, and make use of the resources you have.

If you have a 401k where your employer is matching, definitely max out what they’re matching. Do the most you can up to what your employer matches and if you don't have a 401k, or someone that matches your contribution, then definitely put a little amount in retirement a month, even starting at $50 is a good thing to do.
  
Keep a practical, flexible budget
Budgeting is important, and knowing where all your money is headed can drastically help plans to save some of it. Keep track of where your money is going and you might find a lot of things you’re spending on that you don't need.
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You wouldn’t run a business without a budget, you shouldn’t run a household without one. You have to know what’s coming in, and where it’s going. It’s important to track the budget as well, to make sure you’re staying true to what you’re planning, because that really determines how much you have to invest, how much you have to save, and how much you have for life insurance.  Planning, budgeting and tracking will keep you on your path to a secure financial future.