Wednesday, January 02, 2008

2008 - Giving Your Financial Plan A Tune-up

By Barry Waxller

So, what ideas do you have for a New Year's Resolution this year? Going to lose weight? Get a raise? Get a new job? How about a resolution to get your finances in order? It isn't exactly sexy, but it can make a world of difference in your life.

The first bit of advice might startle you, but it should not. If at all possible, buy a home in 2008. Given the current slump, you are probably wondering why you should buy? Well, you can get a great deal and see big appreciation gains when real estate rebounds.

We all tend to take a financial position and then defend it to the last straw. This is a huge mistake. You must divorce your emotions from objective facts. If you don't, you will throw good money after bad. Stick to this advice and you will make money.

Financial gurus are a dime a dozen. They are the snake oil salesman of the modern era. Don't listen to or read their pitches. They are scams! If these people were so smart at predicting finances, why aren't they billionaires? Don't buy the hype!

Another thing you should look at in 2008 is your insurance situation. Real exciting, eh? The good news is insurance continues to cheapen, so shop your insurance needs again to see if you can get lower premiums on the same policy benefits.

Financial planning for the married couple can be a task. It is no secret that the biggest problem in most marriages is finance. Make a pack to sit down and discuss things in a calm manner. You should do it now before problems crop up.

As far as I know, there are not many of us that want to work every day of our lives. To get out of such a future, you need to do retirement planning now. It is not to painful, so just do it and prepare to reap the benefits down the road.

Helping others is a noble goal, but you should help yourself first and foremost. Spend money on your health by joining a gym. Plan for your future by putting aside money each week, even if it is just a little. Advance your career with more education.

Looking into the future is always a bit of a risk adventure. That being said, your financial plan for the coming year should include some wiggle room to allow you to account for big expected events such as the birth of a child.

As with any year, you should also follow basic strategies to enhance your finances. Stuff every penny you can into retirement accounts. Pay off credit cards. Save up six months of wages. Most importantly, enjoy the new year.

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