This week marked a historic milestone in our recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. Many expressed sighs of relief as Pfizer began distributing its vaccine across the U.S. As of this writing, Moderna’s vaccine was expected to be approved for emergency use and Congressional leaders were finalizing a $900 billion stimulus package, providing needed economic relief before year-end.
We have lived through so much uncertainty in the past 9 months, yet the stock market is on track to end the year well into positive territory. In November alone, the Dow rose 11.8% (its best monthly performance since 1987) and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq climbed 10.8% and 11.8% respectively. Market events this year remind us of the importance of staying invested, sticking to a disciplined investment plan and rebalancing (buying low and selling high) when the opportunity arises.
Seven Tips to Simplify Your Finances in 2021
Financial Move #1: Spend Smart
Make your 2021 mantra an easy one: spend less, reduce stress. Before you buy, ask yourself "will this actually improve the quality of my life?" If the answer is no or if it will just add clutter to your home (which can also add stress) then skip the purchase.
Financial Move #2: Reduce Debt
Getting rid of, or at least reducing, any credit card debt can relieve an immense amount of financial stress. Start by paying off the credit cards that have the highest interest rate before working your way to lower-interest cards. Making small changes can start becoming more of a lifestyle, therefore making it easier to reduce your debt.
Financial Move #3: Track Expenses
If you track exactly where your money is going, it will give you a greater idea of where your overall financial picture stands. Simply understanding where your money is going can help you to really own it which, in turn, can start to reduce financial stress.
Financial Move #4: Trade “Stuff” for Experiences
Research shows that people enjoy experiences more than possessions, so this is a great way to make better use of our money. Rather than buying a new outfit, you could spend your money on experiences. The options are somewhat limited during our pandemic, but safe travel is still possible and online options are plentiful. Online cooking, art and foreign language are some topics you may consider – or start planning a family trip post-Covid. Whatever it may be, this will prevent stress and burnout while providing you with positive memories.
Financial Move #5: Read Financial Success Stories
Simply reading success stories is a great way to change your mindset when it comes to a healthier financial lifestyle. If you read about people who have been in your situation and were able to pay off debt, start earning more money or overcame some type of financial hardship, it may inspire you to start implementing similar tactics in your own life.
Financial Move #6: Create an Emergency Fund
It can be difficult to comprehend creating an emergency fund when you are already financially stressed. But whenever you can, put extra money aside at the end of the month for unexpected expenses, such as house repairs, car repairs or healthcare costs.
Financial Move #7: Start a Spending Plan
Once you’ve worked diligently to reduce debt and build an emergency fund, start a spending plan. When you do this, you’ll need to track your income while making a plan for all that you are earning. You can prioritize your spending once you have allocated the funds to cover expenses. This should hopefully help you breathe a little easier as you spend money while staying on track.
2020 has been challenging for everyone - personally, professionally and financially. As we prepare for the upcoming year, we hope these tips help reduce financial stress and add to your quality of life in 2021.
We want to express our immense gratitude for serving as your trusted advisors throughout 2020 and we look forward to brighter days ahead. May you take comfort in warm homes, loved ones and a deep appreciation for life’s ordinary moments this holiday season.