Friday, September 18, 2009

Don't Wait Until New Year's To Start On Your Financial Goals

Tip #189 - Don’t Wait Until New Year’s To Start On Your Financial Goals. Any day is a good day to start working on your finances. If you are hoping to get out of debt and it’s late November when you come to this realization, it would be easy to push off your debt reduction plan until the New Year. If you want to start contributing to your 401(k) plan, you may be forced by your company to wait until open enrollment, but there’s no reason why you can’t start putting away savings immediately in your own account. If you want to start saving for a house, you don’t need to wait until you get your next raise to start saving for that. Look at your budget now and find where you can reduce some spending to start putting away for that house right now. The reality is that there is no set date that you need to wait for to get started in securing your financial future. In fact, the sooner you start, the sooner you will reach your goals. Don’t wait for some date in the far-off future to start working on your financial plan.

Of course New Year’s, Open Enrollment Days, Raise Days, and Birthdays are always special occasions that may be the impetus for us starting afresh. And because of that, these days are often the source of getting people moving in the right direction financially. But you don’t need to wait for one of those special days to start. Your financial future starts today. You cannot change what you have done in the past, but you can start to correct it or make up for it immediately. Write out what your goals are, what you can do about it now, and start working towards it. Starting now versus January 1st may save you hundreds of dollars in interest fees or be the jump start to thousands of dollars in savings. What are you waiting for?

In Real Life (IRL) –
Tonight starts the first night of the Jewish New Year. Each fall, following the Jewish calendar, Jews around the world celebrate the start of a new year. While much of the rest of the world celebrates New Year’s Day on January 1, we start in September or October on Rosh Hashanah, which commemorates the creation of the world. In a way it’s kind of nice to have a secular New Year and a religious one. Because it gives us a chance to make amends and start afresh twice per year, rather than once. In my family, we’re triply blessed because one of my children is adopted from China. Because of that, we actually celebrate Chinese New Year as well, usually in late January or early February. So we really have three chances to start afresh.

But the reality is having more chances to start anew also gives us more excuses to wait. If we don’t start trying to get out of debt on January 1, it’s easy to say we’ll wait until Lunar New Year to start. Or if that doesn’t work, we can wait until Jewish New Year to start. These dates, however, may start to become excuses for why we haven’t started. And that’s why we should utilize them to strengthen our commitment to getting out of debt or saving money each year but we shouldn’t use them as excuses not to do things.

In our family, we use the secular New Year as our budgeting tool. It works with my husband’s job, the IRS, and the calendar. But tonight on our religious New Year, a time for introspection, when we try to make amends for past mistakes, ask forgiveness to friends and family whom we may have wronged and give forgiveness to those who may have wronged us, we also look upon the next year with renewed hope and energy. This could include thinking about how to stay on the right path, including our financial path, too. My husband and I recently had a budget meeting to discuss our goals for the rest of the year. I hope in the coming year, we will be blessed to meet them. On Rosh Hashanah we eat apples dipped in honey in hopes of having a sweet New Year. May you and your family have a joyous, sweet, healthy, and prosperous 5770. And may it be one filled with financial blessings, too. L’Shanah Tovah!

For frugal ideas to get you started, check out Frugal Fridays.

No comments: