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New year, new goals

Embrace the new year by creating your own personal financial goals for 2019. Here are some additional financial planning ideas:

CREATE AN EMERGENCY FUND If you don’t have at least three months’ worth of living expenses set aside in an accessible and liquid account (such as a checking or savings account), this should be your first goal. For families or people that rely on only a single income or who experience fluctuations and inconsistencies in income (such as the self-employed), consider increasing your emergency fund to six to 12 months worth of expenses.

PAY OFF YOUR HIGH INTEREST RATE LOANS Too many high-interest rate loans can quickly become crippling to your cash flow. Start 2019 with a plan to pay off your high-interest rate loans (such as credit cards) as aggressively as possible. Start by calling lenders and negotiating a lower interest rate. Then pay as much as possible (much more than the minimum payment required) each month.

INCREASE RETIREMENT SAVINGS Challenge yourself to increase your retirement contribution by 5 percent, or more if possible.

TAX PLANNING As you review your 2018 tax items, look for ways to decrease your tax burden for 2019, through the use of tax advantage retirement vehicles, or other pretax deductions available.

SARA PEAK is a freelance writer with expertise in finance and wealth management. 

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