2018 was an up-and-down year for many Americans. The stock market boomed, and then it busted. No one knows what is on the horizon for 2019, but it doesn't hurt to set goals. Here are some financial goals that could help you get off to a great start in 2019.

Start an Emergency Fund
Whether you've retired or you're a professional with many years of experience under your belt, you need an emergency fund. This is the first point of emphasis that many financial experts point to. If you have no emergency fund, you'll likely have to go into debt when an unexpected expense pops up. A fund of $1,000 is a good start, but many of the same financial gurus that recommend having an emergency fund recommend building it up to between three and six months worth of expenses.

Get out of Debt
If setting up an emergency fund is the first recommendation from most financial experts, getting out of debt is a close second. Whether you look to pay off debt with the debt snowball that encourages people to pay off debts from the smallest to the largest balance or with the debt avalanche that takes interest rates into consideration, paying off debt can pay some serious dividends. If you're able to retire debt early, you effectively get a rate of return that equals the interest rate that you might have been paying. For credit cards with interest rates of 15 percent or more, paying off the debt can be one of the best investments that you can make.

Read Five Personal Finance Books
This recommendation might be surprising, but those who want to learn about science in college have to read books on science. If you're looking to improve your personal financial literacy, it's a good idea to learn as much as possible about the topic. Much of the heavy lifting has already been done. There are financial experts who have gotten where you want to be, and many of them have written books. It's a good idea to pick up a few and read them. If you have a local library, checking these books out for free would be the smartest option.  Don’t want to read or have the time to dive in to several paperbacks?   Start working with an experienced Financial Advisor to help guide you along the way.  We are here to help you.

Start Side Jobs
Side hustles are all the rage, and there's a great reason why. The labor market has improved over recent years, but many people no longer have jobs that will comfortably pay their bills each month. One of the best ways to improve your financial standing is through a side job that brings in a few hundred dollars each month. A few hundred bucks could mean the difference between living paycheck-to-paycheck and building up a healthy emergency fund and paying off debt. All side job income should go toward improving your balance sheet each month. That means paying off debt or saving for retirement.

Improve Your Health
Surprised?  You shouldn’t be.  Americans are some of the least healthy people in the developed world. Exercise and healthy diets are not really the norm in the USA. This means that the United States has one of the lowest life expectancy levels in the developed world. Healthcare in the US is also more expensive than anywhere else in the world. For those who are looking to save money and build wealth, avoiding costly healthcare bills is an important step to take. Just deciding to incorporate a few minutes of exercise into your day can make a difference and can cut down on your risk of serious diseases that can cost a load of money.

These are just a few of the goals that could help you with your finances in 2019. Getting started with one or more could be the step that could radically change your life for the better in the coming year. There's no time like the present to get started.

 Arm yourself to save more for your retirement in 2019! The Treasury has announced inflation-adjusted numbers for retirement savings for 2019, as well as a lot of changes that will help investors stuff these accounts. 


The amount which you could contribute to an Individual Retirement is being bumped from $5,500 up to $6,000 for 2019.  Also, the amount you can contribute to your 401(k) (or similar workplace) retirement plan goes up from $18,500 in 2018 to $19,000 in 2019.

That means that quite a few high earners and super-savers age 50-plus can sock away $32,000 during these tax-advantaged accounts. If your hiring manager allows after-tax contributions possibly you’re self-employed you can save double. The overall defined contribution product limit moves up to $56,000, from $55,1000. People who are over 50 and working can save up to $7,000 with the new contribution limit in place according to Market Watch.

Do these limits tend to be unreachable?  During 2017, 13% of employees with consideration plans at work saved the maximum of $18,000/$24,000, according to the Vanguard’s Strategies America Saves study. In opportunities offering catch-up contributions, 14% of those age 50 and older took advantage of the savings opportunity. The amount you should set aside will relate to how you want to live after retirement. Survive on the just the basics or play golf every day.  It‘s something each person will need to decide when setting up or making adjustments to their retirement account.

The annual contribution limit for workers who participate in 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans, as well as federal government’s Thrift Reserves Plan, is $19,000 for 2019, a $500 increase over 2018.   You will need to elect the change to your 401(k) which some employers send you an indication to update your elections for the plan year. You should take that time to evaluate and make necessary changes as needed.

Strengthening the 401(k) contribution is great for savers, but not everyone takes advantage of it. About 10% of participants, according to Vanguard, maxed out their 401(k) in 2016.  

If you need guidance on your retirement plan or to get started, we are here to help.

Subcategories

Page 4 of 4