Now that we have officially rung in the new year, it’s time to revisit some old habits and create new, better ones. Admittedly, it can be a challenge to maintain discipline and organization in many aspects of everyday living. But, with just a little resolve, applying the following tips can help you put your best foot forward for the coming year and beyond.
It’s never too late to set up a formal weekly or monthly budget. It lets you track your spending, and keeps you focused to ensure that your money is being allocated primarily on those expenses that matter most. This can be as simple as logging in expenditures with pen-and-paper, or as sophisticated as setting up an App or budgeting program on your computer. On the mid-range along this spectrum, the AARP Financial Calculator, which is available on-line, can help seniors track costs and possibly identify money-saving areas.
The other up-side to setting up a budget is this: the more time you spend closely reviewing your finances, and the more on top of things that you are, the less likely you are to be the victim of fraud perpetrated by scam-artists. It’s important to monitor accounts, and ensure that any automatic deposits have been made, and that there are no unauthorized withdrawals. (See our previous article that talks about some of the ways you can prevent being the victim of financial fraud).
If you don’t do this already, it’s important to immediately start documenting your important banking, health and personal information (and of course store it in a safe place and with trustworthy family members or friends). This includes computer passwords, P.I.N.s, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, the location of your Will, and the location of keys to any safe deposit boxes, etc. Copies of important documents – such as passports, birth certificates and health information – should be given to trusted family members for safekeeping.
These days, and even for the least tech-savvy of us, daily life seems to require a lot of passwords. This includes bank ATM cards, credit cards, online banking and utilities accounts, computers, cellphones …. the list goes on, and the longer that list, the harder it is to remember them all.
In addition to the usual admonishment to keep the information private, the common advice is to make sure that you change your passwords regularly, and that you use different passwords across-the-board. In other words, it’s important that you don’t have a single, easily-guessed password for all your sign-ins on various devices and online accounts.
In fact, it may be worthwhile to install a Password Manager program for your computer and devices, which is a program for securely keeping track of passwords and easily retrieving them if they are forgotten.
Make the Coming Year a Safe and Stress-free One
New habits are hard to establish, and old ones are hard to break. Although some of these tips require planning, discipline, and some short-term adjustments, they will help you reap long-term rewards for the coming year and beyond.