Our habits and behaviours are notoriously difficult to change. This is why many of us make financial resolutions for the year ahead in addition to regular New Year’s resolutions. In some ways, financial resolutions are easier to target and achieve when compared to other New Year’s resolutions, like losing weight and eating healthier.
Financial resolutions are more measurable and there’s less chance of a lack of impulse control derailing your best laid plans and goals (I don’t know about you, but I am eating chips this evening even though I told myself not to…trying to eat healthier is difficult for me).
Here are 7 financial resolutions to target now and achieve in 2023.
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If you have a long time horizon before you will need your money that you saved, you should start investing if you haven’t started.
Even if you’re scared to with the 2022 bear market.
Time in the market beats timing the market, as they say.
There will never feel like a “right time” to start investing (the market may seem too high, the market may seem too low). The best way to do it for psychological well being is to dollar cost average and invest in index Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs).
There really are no excuses not to invest, it is so easy you can set it up at home in your pyjamas within minutes.
For example, you can invest with a Canadian robo advisor, if the DIY investing route seems too intimidating, and it is as simple as having a set amount of money withdrawn from your bank account on a regular basis.
DITCH YOUR HIGH FEE MUTUAL FUND
If you are already investing, but you’re not happy with your bank mutual fund charging high fees and having the lacklustre returns, one financial resolution that is relatively easy to achieve is to ditch your high fee (MER, management expense ratio) mutual fund.
You may have been lured into investing with high fee mutual funds from a financial advisor representing one of the big banks. You may think it’s hard to switch, but it really isn’t. It just takes the drive to do so and some forms to fill out. Once you make the switch you will be glad you did.
On average, mutual funds have an MER of around 2% in Canada.
It might not seem like much, but over time, this will certainly erode your wealth.
Take for example, $100,000 invested over 25 years, with $0 in additional contributions compounded at 7% average annually. Using Nerdwallet’s Mutual Fund Calculator, you can see that the fees will cost you $329,031. Why end up with $432,000 after 25 years when you can end up with over $761,000?
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Why pay more when you don’t have to AND you can get comparable (or often better) returns on your investment when you can just buy an all in one ETF?
TRACK YOUR NET WORTH
One of the best ways to increase your net worth is to start tracking your net worth. We as humans are naturally goal oriented, and when you start tracking your assets minus liabilities on a monthly basis, you will be inclined to want to see it increase.
It doesn’t take very much time to do, in fact, there is even a net worth tracker that does the work for you and all you have to do is log in.
For my own personal experience, tracking my net worth has been the main catalyst towards my wealth building passion.
I use Wealthica to track my investment portfolio liquid net worth. They even have something called the Balance Sheet Report in their Power Ups (all free) where you can see what your numbers were at a specific point in time.
CONTRIBUTE TO THE TFSA AND RRSP
The Canadian government has provided a plethora of registered accounts to encourage Canadians to save money, invest, and plan for the future.
One of the most popular retirement vehicles is the TFSA, or the Tax Free Savings Account. The TFSA is a misnomer as it should not be used as a savings account but rather it should be used as an investment account.
The 2023 TFSA Contribution limit is $6500. If you were 18 in 2009 when the TFSA (Tax Free Savings Account) was first introduced, you will have $88,000 of contribution room available in your TFSA.
|Year||TFSA Contribution Room|
The TFSA is one of the best accounts for you to invest through because of its flexibility and tax shelter capabilities.
$88,000 invested today into a TFSA (assuming you are 40 years old) with annual contributions of $6500 and compounded yearly at a conservative 7% equates to over $573,000 at age 65.
That’s only $244,000 total deposits and the rest is the magic of compounding over 25 years of time.
Invest for your retirement in your TFSA and RRSP if you can, before starting a non-registered investment account.
MAX OUT THE RESP
Another registered account that is very important to contribute to, if you are a parent, is the RESP. The Registered Education Savings Plan helps you save for your child’s post-secondary education. The government provides a 20% match to your contribution in the form of the CESG, Canada Education Savings Grant, up to $500 annually.
This means a $2500 contribution for the year for the RESP to get $500 from the CESG.
Justwealth has a unique target date RESP called the Education Target Date Portfolio, that factors in your child’s birth year and automatically de-risks the portfolio as you get closer to the post-secondary school years.
REBALANCE AND ORGANIZE YOUR PORTFOLIO
If you are a DIY investor, an easy financial resolution to target and achieve is to rebalance your portfolio according to your asset allocation risk profile (fixed income vs equities allocation) in addition to your designated geographical exposure of fixed income, Canadian, International, and US investments.
There’s no set time to rebalance, some do it annually, some do it quarterly but the most important thing is to just set a time and do it.
If you invest with a robo advisor, consider yourself lucky (and also wise), the robo advisor rebalances automatically for you. If you invest in an all-in-one ETF you also don’t need to worry about rebalancing.
According to Reuters, inflation was a record high in Canada at over 8% in 2022. To combat rising inflation, the options are to lower your expenses and or increase your income.
Increasing your income might seem difficult, but not if you think of alternative and simple ways to make some extra money.
Clearing out your closet and selling anything that you might not need anymore will surprise you with the amount of money conjured up. It may also tackle another New Year’s Resolution, clearing clutter. Win-win!
Airbnb a suite in your home, dog walk with Rover, sell crafts that you have made on Etsy, rent out a room in your home for homestay students, teach English overseas via the Internet, the possibilities are endless.
Another way to make some extra cash can be as simple as applying for credit cards through cash back portals like Great Canadian Rebates (of course by making sure you pay your credit card bills off monthly) to get a $100 cash rebate, or applying for new bank account promotions in Canada. In the latter, you can earn $300 cash for opening up a bank account and setting up direct deposit or a bill payment.
Sure, $300 and $100 does not amount to very much, but every little bit helps.
10% cash back credit cards help offset costs, too (again very important you pay your amount in full every month).
LOWER YOUR EXPENSES
Finally, lowering your expenses is easier than you think and it takes just a few phone calls.
You can lower your Internet expenses by making a phone call to your Internet service provider or cell phone provider. That alone can save you at least $360 a year on your Internet bill and possibly over $500 a year on your cell phone bill.
Just put a reminder on your phone when to call again (sometimes it can be three months to one year) to continue to save money on your phone and Internet expenses.
If you are still paying bank fees, there are plenty of no fee banking options available, including the not so popular option of having a minimum balance with the big banks in order to waive the monthly bank fees.
2023 FINANCIAL RESOLUTIONS
The last few years were difficult for all of us.
2023 is full of promise despite a looming recession.
Getting your financial shape in order for 2023 will give you a sense of confidence in order to be able to tackle other difficult habits to improve upon, such as not eating chips late at night or cutting down on chocolate!
Hopefully this list helps you shape what some of your financial resolutions will be for 2023.
If you want a more guided approach, here’s a free Financial Assessment Meeting for Genymoney.ca readers from Enriched Academy.
Happy new year!
What are some other financial resolutions that you can think of?
GYM is a 30 something millennial interested in achieving financial freedom through disciplined saving, dividend and ETF investing, and living a minimalist lifestyle. Before you go, check out my recommendations page of financial tools I use to save and invest money. Don’t forget to subscribe for blog updates, a free dividend yield spreadsheet, and the free Young Money Bootcamp eCourse.