We’ve got only a few days left until 2019! Every new year, many of us would create a list of resolutions, which we hope would improve ourselves. We make an effort to eat better, exercise more, and basically to quit our bad habits.
But why not include a few new year goals that will improve your finances this time around? Improved finances make for a happier life, as it will instil confidence, allow you to live comfortably, give you peace of mind, and help you reach other goals that require money.
We’ve listed 7 most important financial goals to set and achieve in 2019 (or the years to come):
1. Do a quick financial makeover
You can do a quick financial makeover in under 30 minutes by first going through how much you’ve spent in 2018. Take out all the receipts and bank statements. Have you lived within your means or are you a chronic overspender?
Also, what about your financial responsibilities? Have you succeeded in paying all your bills or are you falling behind in your payments, for example, your credit card bills? If everything is less than ok, it’s time for a financial makeover! Here’s how you can do this:
- Create or update your budget to suit your current needs and lifestyle
Things are constantly changing in your life. How much you earned and what you needed previously may not be the same now. If you don’t know how to manage your money and create a budget, use one of these 10 awesome budgeting apps to get started
- Cut spending
Cutting down your spending is inevitable if you want to stick to your budget. Once you have your budget planned out, you can look into where you can cut down on. See if any of these 20 everyday habits are making you broke. You might want to skip or even starting working on some of them
- Keep track of every Ringgit spent
Utilise your budgeting app to help you keep track of every Ringgit you spend. You’d be surprised by how easy it is to throw your hard-earned money away. Imagine how much money you could’ve saved instead!
2. Get out of debt a.s.a.p
Once you’ve planned on cutting down or skipping the unnecessary, it’s time to get yourself out of debt, or at least reduce them.
Start by creating a simple debt repayment plan by making a list of your debt and ranking your debt (from the most urgent to the least urgent). Set a deadline for each of them.
Next, find ways to generate extra cash to pay off the debts. It could be doing a part-time job, starting a side business, or selling off things you no longer need but still have value.
Also, remember to focus on paying off your debts one at a time before moving on to the next debt. This is to help prevent you from getting overwhelmed.
If you have no idea how to start managing your debts, visit the friendly people at The Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK). Here are 5 AKPK financial education and debt management programmes you can check out.
Related: 5 Useful Tips to Become Debt-Free
3. Avoid adding any more debt in 2019
This one is easier said than done, especially if you own credit cards. While some would argue paying everything with cash is the most ideal, sometimes you’ll need to use your credit card for major purchases. Also, benefits like cashback, reward points and 0% easy payment plans help you save more and make your purchases more rewarding.
The key is to plan ahead if you want to make a big purchase and give yourself some time to save enough money for it. Also, your credit card is NOT an extension of your income, so be smart your spends and try to go for the ones that are most rewarding, like buying grocery from a particular store if it gives you extra cashback or reward points, so on and so forth.
4. Start saving for emergency and retirement
We couldn’t stress enough the importance of saving up for an emergency as well as for your golden years. Your future self will thank you for having some cash in times of need when unexpected things happen.
Also, according to The Star report, most Malaysians cannot afford to retire because their average savings are not enough, with rising life expectancy. If you want a decent life after retirement, better start saving more for your golden years! Here are some useful tips to help you save for your retirement.
If you can afford it, make an effort to get yourself insured. Your insurance could come in handy in cases where an accident, the death of a loved one, or a permanent disability occurred.
5. Learn about money and finances in your spare time
It’s only recently that our government has started to realise the importance of managing one’s personal finance, and they are now working on implementing financial education in universities. Thanks to technology, you can learn about money and finances too in your spare time, for free!
There are many ways for you to learn, for example, you can enrol in an online personal finance class, subscribe to personal finances newsletter, or if you’ve got some extra cash, buy some books on personal finances. Don’t forget to check out our recommendations when it comes to must-read personal finance books.
6. Look for ways to advance your career
Getting a promotion means you’ll have more money, either for paying off debts or buying the things you need. Figure out ways to solidify your career (here are some tips to get promoted), or if you’re unhappy with your job, consider a career change (here’s how you can refine your job search). Learn new skills that will benefit your professional journey. Browse online educational platforms to find free or affordable classes.
7. Declare your income tax
If your annual income is more than RM34,000 (after EPF deductions) and you have yet to declare your income tax, do it as soon as possible before July 1, 2019! If you fail to declare your income tax before the deadline, prepare to face a penalty ranging from 80% to 300%! Check out our guides on how to file for income tax online, the tax reliefs that await you and all you wanted to know about the Special Voluntary Disclosure Programme (PKPS).
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