By Sarah Stewart Legal Group, PLLC

Though money matters are a constant area of concern for many, with the Holidays quickly approaching, more people are finding themselves stressed out about their finances. Decorating for the Holidays, buying gifts for loved ones, and financing Holiday travel and plans can burden your checkbook.

Once the storm of the Holiday season passes, the beginning of the new year brings optimism and a chance to set out your financial goals and plans for yourself and your family.

Here are 4 ways to relieve financial stress and set your goals for the new year:

(1) Build Your Foundation

Decide what you value and need most.  Prioritize these financial goals.  Remember to focus on your most important numbers:  (1) what you earn, (2) what you spend, and (3) what you owe, when making your budget.  Your budget will center around these numbers.

Once you have your budget lined out, you need to follow up with

(a) an emergency fund,

(b) a plan to reduce your debt,

(c) deciding how much insurance protection you need to protect your family, and

(d) getting an estate plan in place.

After your foundation is in place, you can confidently move forward with your goals.

(2) Take Action

Planning is wonderful start, but in the end, a plan is only as good as the steps you take to see it through. Once you have your goals and plan in place, take steps to automate your actions and make following through as easy as possible for you.

Many banks allow you to set up automatic payments and withdrawals to savings.  Set these up for your specific goals and watch your dreams come true!

(3) Review Your Progress

It can be easy to make a plan, set things on autopilot, and then forget about it.  But, forgetting about your financial and estate plans can cause you trouble in the long run.

Make a point to review your goals and progress annually with your trusted advisors.  They can help you decide if important life changes have happened that require fine-tuning or if more money can be put toward a specific financial goal.

And, let’s be honest, sometimes we change our minds.  Annual reviews allow us to be sure we are still focusing on what is most important to us.

(4) Don’t Forget Life’s Transitions

Life is full of ups and downs.  The joy of retirement, a new marriage, or birth. The sadness of job loss, a divorce, or death.

Transitions are rarely easy, but if you plan for them, it makes them easier. Your trusted advisors can help you manage your plans during life’s transitions.

Planning can be complicated.  It takes time, thought, and effort.  Many of us do not want to think about it, or think we have all the time in the world.  And we do have all the time in the world, until, all of a sudden, we don’t.

We all know the days are short but the years are long.  The sooner you can plan for your family and future, the sooner you can spend your time enjoying the most important things in your life- the people and the experiences- and spend less time worrying and wondering about where you’re going or if your family will be taken care of when something happens to you.

Reach out to your trusted attorneys and financial planners today and start your plan!