Posted By .

Spring is finally in the air! Believe it or not, the first three months of 2019 are already coming to a close. Have you been keeping up with your financial goals so far this year? Remember it’s never too late to make improvements to your overall financial wellbeing.

In case you’ve been busy with all your start of year to-do’s, here is a recap of what we’ve been focusing on in the world of personal finance:  

January – Retirement vs. education: Prioritizing your savings

We’ve all heard horror stories of kids entering the workforce buried in student loan debt. You’re probably thinking you don’t want that to happen to your child and would like to defray the cost any way you’re able. At the same time, you have to make sure you’re saving for yourself to ensure you’re financially stable in retirement.

How do you find the balance between the two?

Make saving for retirement a priority: There are only so many years you’ll be able to be in the workforce. The last thing you want is to be forced to work well past your desired retirement age, because you put saving for retirement on the back-burner. Don’t have any guilt if you’re socking away most of your extra cash flow into retirement savings. Any help you can give your kids to pay for tuition in the future is a commendable gesture. If your kids have to take out loans, that’s okay too.

Start saving for both really early: In an ideal world, you start saving for your retirement as soon as you land your first job out of school. And you start saving for your kids to go to college as soon as they’re born. If either of those things didn’t happen, you’re in the same boat as a lot of other folks out there. Get started saving now! Set a realistic goal to fund both and set up automatic withdrawals from your checking account each month.

You should feel good about saving for retirement and your kids’ college tuitions. So long as you prioritize retirement saving and do what you can to help your kids out, you’re doing exactly what you need to.

February – Write it down and cross it off: The power of financial list-making

Are you a list-maker? Do you get settled in at your workplace for the day and immediately start on your to-do list? We’re big believers in the power of writing things down, even though putting a pen to paper seems so outdated these days. Jotting down all those tasks running through your mind makes the day seem much more organized and manageable. Plus you get the satisfaction of crossing something off when you’ve accomplished it. It’s the little things in life!

Making personal finance to-do lists are no different. Maybe you’re working toward a particular goal, like paying off a credit card. Perhaps you’re trying to be more mindful in general about your everyday spending habits. You may be thinking about how you can save some money on your monthly expenses but haven’t gotten around to digging into the details yet. Or you have some lingering financial question that’s been bugging you. Whatever is running through your financial brain, taking the time to write it down can free up your mental capacity. You’ll also be much more likely to start taking actionable steps to accomplish what you want to.

Go ahead and give it a try. You may be surprised at how much you’re able to tackle in the coming months. Be sure to keep your list nearby and reference it often. And don’t forget to cross off the tasks you’ve taken care of. Then you’ll be able to look back and see just how far you’ve come.

March – Boost your financial wellness with your tax refund

Expecting a sizable tax refund this year? Make a plan for what to do with the cash before it hits your bank account. Rather than spending the money haphazardly, why not work to boost your overall financial wellness instead?

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Lower your financial stress by paying down outstanding debt.
  • Think long-term by putting the money to work in your investment account.
  • Get ahead of unexpected expenses by bulking up your emergency fund.
  • Take a break from the daily hustle and bustle by funding some travel.

If you’ve already used your refund for something else entirely, that’s perfectly okay. Keep these tips in mind when next year’s tax season comes around. 

Want to keep up to date with all things personal finance? Subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter, The Monthly Interest and follow The McKay Wealth Blog. We’ll keep you in the know so you can keep doing what you do.