Here’s a 7-step financial checklist to get you started.
1. Set realistic money goals for the year
Instead of setting a resolution you won’t stick to, give yourself specific goals instead. If you’re stuck on setting a realistic money goal, try using the SMART Method:
- Specific: Be clear on what you want to achieve. (Example: “Save up for a down payment for your child’s education”.)
- Measurable: Determine how much you will need in order to reach your goal. (Example: “I need a 20% down payment for a home that costs $500,000, so I need to save $100,000 total.”)
- Attainable: Make sure the goal you’re setting is reasonable for your lifestyle and income. (Example: “After looking at my budget, I know I can afford to save $X per month to reach my down payment goal.”)
- Relevant: Put weight behind goals that actually align with your values and long-term wants. (Example: “I want to save up a down payment because I want to own a home where I can raise my family.”)
- Time-based:Assign a set timeline to your goal. (Example: “By saving $X a month and increasing my savings $Y a year, I can reach my goal by Z.”)
2. Revisit your liquidity needs
2020 left many people dealing with financial hardship. Did you spend any of your savings and need to focus on rebuilding? Or are there behaviours you have adopted that requires less. Chances are your lifestyle has changed so your liquidity needs may have changed, too. If you have adapted to a new lifestyle that costs less (eg. Cooking more at home instead of eating out, watching Netflix instead of visiting Golden Village Gold Class), stick with it. It will definitely leave you with more to save or invest.
3. Identify ways you can cut back on your spending
We recommend tracking your spending for 30 days, or looking back at last month’s spending, and taking note of the areas where you can cut back. (Example: Instead of going for a cup of Starbucks coffee, could you do with one from the coffee shop nearby, replace GrabFood with home cooked food, eliminating subscriptions that you only enjoy part of the time). Try cutting out just one “extra” recurring expense to save money, and see if you actually miss it. You likely will at first, especially if it was something that made your life more convenient. But when you adjust to not having it, you may realize your life is actually just fine without it, and you’ll have cut down your recurring expenses.
4. Reinstate your good habits
Did you have to dip into your savings last year to cover costs during COVID or accumulate credit card debt to cover costs? The point is not to dwell on the past, but to use this as an opportunity to get back on track. What good money habits would you like to return to?
5. Refinance your home loans
In Singapore, home loan payment is a big expenditure. Do you know you can free up cash when you refinance your home loans? Home loans rates are competitive these days. Work with an independent mortgage advisor to help you find the best loan refinancing rate in the market, when you current lock-in period is over.
6. Acquire appropriate insurance coverage
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s to prepare for the unexpected. Do you have appropriate life insurance, health insurance, disability coverage, renters/homeowners insurance, etc.? If not, create a plan of action to get covered. Risk management is an important part of financial planning. Don’t ever overlook this.
7. Consolidate your bank accounts and finances
Most of us have many bank accounts, each could be serving a different purpose. Or you could simply choose not to put all your eggs in one basket. What’s more, if you have been working for a while, without any major disruptions, your CPF monies would be substantial. And if you dabble in equities, there is money in your trading account.
A good start in your financial journey is when you consolidate your finances across different banks, trading platforms and your CPF. When you see everything in a single dashboard, you may realise there is more than you think.
With Autumn, a holistic platform which covers important aspects of your life – wealth, health and lifestyle, you can now view your total net worth in a single dashboard. What’s more, we’ve put together the perfect blend of personalised tools and easy-to-understand content, fortified with independent and unbiased insights.
When Autumn simplifies your future planning into small steps, managing your finances will be breeze. Find out more at www.autumn.sg and start your journey towards creating your best future.