WHICH WILL HELP YOU ACHIEVE YOUR 2019 FINANCIAL GOALS?
It’s that time of year again. Our waistbands are a little snugger, our wallets a little lighter, and our hearts and minds are (mostly) still committed to the resolutions we’ve set for the year ahead.
The new year is a great time to reflect on the past and set meaningful goals for the future. It’s the season of self improvement, and your Facebook feed is likely overflowing with offers to help you achieve your ambitions or overcome your insecurities. Whether you want to fit into your skinny jeans or bring some semblance of order to your crazy life, there are an endless number of products and services to choose from — all promising to help you achieve your dreams in a handful of simple steps. It’s no wonder most people have given up on their resolutions by now — it’s nearly impossible to decide where to start!
If your goal is to improve your financial health in 2019, you may be feeling similarly overwhelmed. Do you save first or do you invest? How much can you afford to set aside? How long is this going to take?
THE AGE-OLD QUESTION IN PERSONAL FINANCE
Imagine that you’ve won the lottery. Not enough to fully fund an immediate and lavish retirement, but enough to make a difference in your life. How would you spend your windfall?
Most of us who dream of winning say we’d pay down our debt, and maybe donate to charity or splurge on a big-ticket item like a much-needed vacation. Many people who actually win end up blowing it all; they fail to invest in the future.
So, what would you do? Would you pay off your debt or would you invest?
Meet Nancy*. She’s a 55-year-old mother of two with a career she loves. But now that her youngest has finished college, Nancy is thinking about scaling back work to spend more time with her new grandson.
With an empty nest, Nancy thinks she and her spouse can handle the reduced income. Although her retirement savings are modest – Nancy chose to work part-time while her children were young – she trusts that her husband’s retirement fund will see them through comfortably, especially since he doesn’t plan to retire anytime soon.
Or so she thinks. The truth is Nancy and her husband have never seriously discussed their retirement plans. She has no idea at what age he plans to retire or how much money he’d like to have saved by then – or whether his thoughts on either of these things match her own.
If you can relate to Nancy’s story, you aren’t alone.
According to a Fidelity Investments 2018 Couples & Money Study, more than 4 in 10 couples disagree about the age they plan to retire and 54% disagree about how much money they should have saved by that date.
We all know that strange combination of fear and excitement that comes with starting something new. Maybe you experienced it walking through the front door of your first real job: excitement to have a solid grip on the first rung of your career ladder; fear that a shiny new degree and limited life experience would not be enough.
If watching the hit TV drama This is Us has taught us anything, it’s how to ride the curves of an emotional rollercoaster. We start each episode with a mix of reluctance and anticipation, unsure of what the future holds or whether we’re equipped for the gut-wrenching turns ahead. Our optimism grows, and soon we’re excited, then downright exuberant.
Your alarm goes off in the early morning hours. By the time you hit the shower, your mind is already running full throttle through the list of decisions you need to make just to get out the door: What should I pack the kids for lunch? How do I get them to hockey practice? Do I need to leave work early? Should I reschedule my last meeting?