New Year, New Goals: Planning Your Money Moves for 2024
The coming of a new year often inspires much thinking and planning. You may be looking for ways to structure and organize your life to be prepared for a brand-new year, especially when it comes to your personal finances. As you plan your money moves for 2024, it’s important to consider both short- and long-term goals. It’s also beneficial to arrange finances for emergencies or unexpected situations.
How should you plan your finances for 2024 to ensure economic stability and prosperity? Here are a few key strategies to consider.
1. List Short-Term Goals
When people discuss personal finances, they tend to think in generalized terms. How much wealth have they accumulated? How are their finances positioned for the future? Will they be able to retire comfortably?
While all of those objectives are important, you still have to live in the present. This means taking care of short-term needs that may arise within the next few years. Your financial plan should account for these smaller-scale goals and unexpected events.
Short-term goals may include:
- Paying down credit card debt
- Building an emergency fund
- Saving for vacation
- Purchasing new appliances
- Exploring additional income streams
- Renovating or improving your home
- Planning for marriage, children, relocation, or other life transitions
Many other goals and ambitions can be characterized as short-term needs. Whatever they are, make room for them in your plans for 2024. You may have big ideas in mind for the future, but you still need to live day to day. Plan your finances to take care of the present, too.
2. Articulate Long-Term Goals
While you’ve got to consider your short-term financial goals, it’s essential to keep your long-term goals in sight, too – even though these are goals that won’t be met for years, or even decades down the road. They can include:
- College tuition for children
- Saving for retirement
- Paying off a mortgage
- Starting a business
- Planning for long-term healthcare needs
- Achieving financial independence
- Establishing a legacy
Thinking about long-term goals can be frustrating at times because they often feel aspirational. You can expect to make gradual progress – even slow at times – which can be a hit to your motivation. It’s not necessarily easy to track your success in meeting them. However, it’s very beneficial to itemize them while you’re still working to set a framework for your future.
Keeping these goals uppermost in mind will help you make more responsible financial decisions now that can pay off handsomely in the future.
3.) Identify Middle-of-the-Road Goals
Sometimes, it’s hard to determine whether a certain financial goal or need is short- or long-term. Some may consider buying a home within 10 years to be a long-term goal, while others who are positioned to buy a house outright might think about it as a short-term goal.
The good news is that you don’t have to classify these middle-of-the-road goals. You can set a reasonable timeline for accomplishing them that works for you. Some of these goals might include:
- Maximizing 401(k) contributions
- Improving your credit score
- Supporting charitable causes
- Taking on home renovations
- Growing your savings and emergency funds
- Pursuing a “passion project”
These goals can also be considered “active” ones that aren’t defined by time. Although many people prefer to have some sense of time for each goal, you can give yourself the freedom to identify timelines that work best for you, identifying money moves that suit you personally.
4.) Make a Realistic Budget
One of the biggest pitfalls of setting financial goals is harboring unrealistic expectations. You might expect to be able to conclude payments on your car loan within three years, but you can’t account for uncertainty or surprises. It might not even be possible to construct a timeline until you’ve been working at achieving your goals for a period of time.
On the other hand, you might discover that you have the means to pay off certain debts earlier than expected. If you’ve set a realistic budget that allows you the time and room to make alterations, you’ll find it easier to accomplish your goals.
When you make your money moves for 2024, approach them from a realistic standpoint. This goes beyond daydreaming — it means thinking rationally, preparing honestly, and putting pen to paper. Don’t be afraid to switch short- or mid-range goals to long-term goals if the situation warrants. Think about the future, but also think about how to maintain a content existence from day to day.
5.) Get Help with Your Money Moves for 2024
With a new year just beginning, there’s no better time to think about your financial future. If you’re not yet working alongside a financial advisor, one of your primary "to-dos" for 2024 may be to find a financial professional to help you develop a comprehensive financial plan that suits your needs and goals. A trusted and experienced advisor can share strategies and tools, personalize them to your unique circumstances, and help you attain the financial security and peace of mind you seek for 2024 and beyond.
If you think you or a family member would benefit from some financial guidance on appropriate money moves to make in the new year, please contact our office to schedule a free initial strategy session with a financial professional!
The information presented here is for educational purposes only and is not a solicitation for the purchase of any financial product. The statements and opinions expressed are those of the author and are subject to change at any time. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, presenting financial professional makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. This material has been prepared for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, accounting, legal, tax or investment advice.