“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
As you are plotting out all your plans for success in 2020 I wanted to highlight some areas to consider. The general categories most of us want to improve on is health and wealth. Having good health and a good financial standing allows you to best take advantage of opportunities.
Emergency Savings – Start here. If you don’t have a rainy day fund for the unexpected car repair, medical bill, etc. This should be your top priority. It isn’t fun or exciting but it is crucial to making sure that the small risks of life do not throw a well laid plan off course. Textbooks will tell you 3-6 months of gross income. In reality you depending on the stability of your income and what your true net costs are you could carry a little less.
Clean Up Debt: High Interest Loans, Credit Cards, etc: Once you have built your emergency fund, focus on your debt. High interest student loans, personal loans, and credit cards are killers to your free cash flow. Allocating extra dollars here will help immensely in the long run. While you may be tempted to invest money while paying off these loans it may not make sense. A long term investment (10+ years) may yield 7-8% growth, but factoring in inflation around 3% your only netting 4-5% true growth. If you have loans that are at that percentage or higher it may make sense to pay them off first.
Roth 401k v Regular 401k: Depending on your employer, you may have the option to do a Roth 401k, but what it is different about it than a regular 401k? A regular 401k is funded through pre-tax dollars while a Roth is funded with after tax dollars. Funding your retirement with after tax dollars will mean less take home pay today. A thought to decide on which may be good for you is if you believe your tax rate is higher today than it will be later. Or if you would just rather pay taxes now versus later. Depending on your household income level you may have the ability to fund a Roth IRA which works the same way. Ultimately you may want to consult your CPA on which is best for you. But it is safe to say that “using both accounts will diversify your tax situation in retirement, which is always a good thing.” (Nerd Wallet)
Other savings vehicles: What if I don’t have access to a 401k? “Here’s good news: There are lots of other ways to build up that nest egg. Here’s how you can reach your retirement savings goals, even if you don’t have a 401(k).” (Investopedia)
Cash Value Life Insurance
If you are unsure which savings vehicle is right for you, you can always consult a financial advisor. Many do not charge a fee for a basic consultation and may be able to help you get on the right path towards your financial success. Whatever you decide is the best path forward for you, start sooner rather than later. “Many American workers are failing to save enough to fund their retirements. One reason for this is that they start retirement planning and savings too late in their working lives. (Forbes)”
What are your health goals for 2020? I am looking to work out more consistently but with a schedule that is forever in flux I have to plan ahead. I often look at least a week in advance. It doesn’t always work out as planned but I find I am much more successful if I have already identified the obstacles. Whatever your health goals for 2020 are, you are likely also facing your own obstacles.
Below are a few of the common obstacles that keep us from our healthiest selves, with some ideas about how to get around and through them:
Cost: Maybe you haven’t joined that gym or class because it was too expensive. Class Pass can be a great alternative. For a set and often reduced price you can try different types of workout classes around your city.
Accountability: Buddy up! Find someone, or pay someone to make you accountable. It is easy to fall off track when you know that no one will notice. Having someone to report to about your health journey can be critical to your follow through.
Access: Maybe getting to a gym or class or whatever it may be is too difficult for your schedule. Try to be creative about finding ways to fit in small workouts around home or using off time for more experience-based exercise like hiking, biking, or walking with a friend.
Time: This one is critical we all feel like we are running out of time. But I would venture to guess that if you’re like me, that you are quite good at making time for what is important to you. When we get busy it can be easy to cut things out that feel stressful but often exercising and eating a good home-prepared meal can reduce your stress level.
Eating out during the week v meal plans: “Although meal kits are not perfect, they can free up your time and give you a few new recipe ideas.” (Huff Post) If lack of time leads you to eating out a meal delivery kit could be the help you need. Most of them boast meals made in 30 minutes or less and can be catered to your personal diet.
Meal Prep: I personally spend a few hours every Sunday doing meal prep. Making sure I have a few lunches ready for the week and usually breakfast prepped and ready to go. It saves me a ton of time in the morning to already know what I am going to pack. An added bonus is that it has helped with my budget by not ordering lunches during the week as often.
Mental Reset: Make the time. If this all feels overwhelming maybe your first priority is just you. Spending sometime with yourself to be in a good mental space is the best way to move towards a healthier you.
Once you have set your big goals for the year, break them down. What needs to happen quarterly, monthly, weekly, and even daily for you to achieve your goal? Can you do one thing per day to get you closer to success? Having a plan for achieving your goals will make you significantly more likely to achieve them. Plus, taking the time now to create the plan, actually creates more time down the road to work towards fulfilling the plan.
“Path Forward is a nonprofit organization on a mission to empower people to restart their careers after time spent focused on caregiving. They fulfill this mission by working with companies to create and run mid-career internships — also known as “returnships” — that give women and men a jump start back to a professional career, while giving companies access to a diverse, untapped talent force.”
What is your biggest goal for 2020? How can Her Story of Success help?