Last week, just before New Year’s eve, I refused to talk about New Years’ resolutions. It’s not a secret that the vast majority of them never survive the first two weeks of January. So the pressure is off to make all of your resolutions come true, and now you can calmly think through some that may be important, and that you actually want to implement for the long-term.
Now that we’re into the first week in January, it makes a little more sense to think about some financial resolutions that won’t be the plan of the week, but have a chance to become habits for a lifetime.
I’ve checked with a lawyer, and it’s still the new year – so resolutions still count! And by now, we’re over the sugar high, over-eating, over-spending, and most of the guilt phase that just doesn’t make it conducive to making good decisions for more than a day or so.
Here are some suggestions, all of which will make a huge impact on your financial situation, and all of which are pretty easy to implement and keep:
-No RRSP loan this year. If you keep getting RRSP loans for the past year, you’re doomed to permanent payments. Most of your investment returns are also wiped out in the first year or two, as you’re paying interest on the loan. Instead, have your bank take that same amount of money out of your bank account each month towards a 2012 RRSP. Yes, you’ll miss the tax deduction right now, but it’s a one-time thing to turn a loan into an actual investment with real, and not borrowed, money.
-Sit down and do a written budget. You’ll be amazed where all of your money leaks out each month. Yes, it has to be in writing so you can actually see it in black and white.
-Take a felt marker, or lipstick, and write on your en-suite mirror: I can’t afford it – or the words: debt free. At least two or three times a day you’ll be reminded that you can set limits on what you buy, and have the ultimate goal of no payments right in front of you.
Why? Because the one person who is standing in the way of being financially successful is in the mirror.
-Open a Tax Free Savings Account and put $50 in it. That’s it. Five minutes to get it opened and a start of savings that will all grow tax free, and are also withdrawn tax free.
We’ll have more next week. Remember that none of these are complex, and none will take more than half an hour to implement. Because the secret is to do small things that will have a big impact down the road.