“If you really want a sense of accomplishment, take care of money tasks that don't require ongoing discipline and that you typically don't have to repeat every year.”
Some basic money tasks are in the "one and done" category, but there are some others you may have to revisit as your life changes. Nonetheless, they’ll all give you a sense of progress toward your financial goals, says the Palm Beach Post in its recent article, “6 money resolutions you can actually keep.” Let’s look at the list:
- Consolidate your retirement accounts. This makes it easier for you to watch your investments and can save you money. Investment choices in 401(k)s typically cost much less than those available outside of the plans, and many large-company 401(k)s offer very inexpensive funds that are not available to retail investors. If you have a good 401(k), ask your employer if you can transfer your old retirement accounts into it. Otherwise, look at rolling old accounts into a single IRA at a discount brokerage. There are also low-cost target-date retirement funds that eliminate the ongoing need to rebalance your accounts.
- Purchase life insurance. Not everyone needs life insurance, but if you do, you may need a good-sized chunk. If you have others depending on your paycheck or your child-rearing services, you should figure out your future obligations and subtract your current resources to see how much insurance to purchase. It is recommended that you get quotes from several carriers. Most people select term insurance, which is much less expensive than permanent insurance, which has an investment component, like whole life.
- Set up savings categories. You can avoid having to scramble to pay a big bill like property taxes, if you set up savings accounts for specific costs. For each goal, calculate how much you'll need to pay the bill when it's due, and divide by the number of paychecks you'll get between now and then. Set up an automatic transfer for that amount, and the cash will be there when you need it.
- Refinance student loans. If you have good credit, you may be able to lower the interest rates on your student loans. Refinancing to a lower rate is a slam dunk for private student loans, but with federal student loans, you'd be giving up some pretty important protections, like income-based repayment plans and more generous forbearance and deferment options. It might be worthwhile if you have a good job and can pay off the loans quickly. Otherwise, refinance private loans separately and apply the amount you save to your federal loan bills to help pay them off more quickly.
- Write your will. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you create a will that expresses your wishes for your assets at death.
- Check on beneficiaries. Review your beneficiary designations and most of the other tasks on this list, after any major life change, such as a birth, adoption, marriage, divorce or death.
Otherwise, count these as resolutions you’re able to keep.
Reference: Palm Beach (FL) Post (December 26, 2016) “6 money resolutions you can actually keep”