At this time of year, there is a growing trend to choose three words that you want to shape and define the next 12 months ahead. It’s a concept credited to Chris Brogan, a US author and “executive-level strategist”.
And, given that some research suggests the average New Year’s resolution lasts just 12 days, it may be a strategy with more ‘effectiveness-level’ stickiness.
The three words are usually lifestyle-oriented, a feeling or a hope.
Read more from Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon:
A big-picture, hopes-and-desires approach like this can work when it comes to money too.
Here are three terms you should focus on, and how to use them to revamp your finances in 2023.
Finance fixing word 1: Dream
We all face this New Year with tighter bank balances.
The word ‘survive’ might feel like the more appropriate one but the word ‘dream’ gives you the step-back-and-take-stock positioning that is important to make your money take you to better places.
And that involves (temporarily) removing the stress of today’s daily cost scramble (I’ll come back to this).
Where is it that you want your money to take you at the end of 2023, the end of 2024, in five years’ time, 10 years and then ultimately?
Because that is, ideally, always what should determine the decisions about where you put it.
Notwithstanding the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) turning the cost-of-housing screws.
The way to make these so-vital life goals become your reality is to ‘cost’ and what I call ‘calendar’ them.
Say you want to take a year off and travel the world in 2025… much like many Aussies have travelled in the country in the past couple of years?
How much will that cost? And therefore, how much would you need to reserve from each pay to make it actually happen?
Finance fixing word 2: Control - as in, taking it back
The eight successive rate rises we saw in 2022 may have left you feeling disempowered and helpless about your finances.
Here is the move to change that.
Getting a better mortgage interest rate should be your No.1 priority for 2023.
It’s the money game-changer.
If you are with a Big Four Bank, the chances are your rate is around 6.5 per cent (even though they will have customers who are paying far less).
The thing is that there are still rates below 4.5 per cent.
If you are not sitting bolt upright at that, then try this:
Refinancing a $500,000, 25-year mortgage from 6.5 per cent to 4.5 per cent cuts your repayments by $582 a month.
And that’s what I mean by wrestling back control.
You shouldn’t feel at the mercy of the RBA - you should feel motivated by those good people (trying to do a difficult job), to keep every dollar that you can for yourself.
The same kinds of savings will be available on any personal loans you hold.
And if you have credit card debt, you could think about parking it in a zero per cent balance transfer credit card, the likes of which you can currently get for up to 36 months.
That still leaves budget ‘levers’ like your every utility, insurance and your telco arrangements.
You can likely find savings everywhere in these categories.
Finance fixing word 3: Care
The reason for the third word is two-fold.
First of all, it’s to give a gentle shake to someone who isn’t paying attention to their money and their future, or who may be coasting for economic calamity at the moment.
The second, is to highlight the importance of not just prospering, but also protecting.
Think about it: most people who are concerned about their health and fitness at this time of year say they want to lose weight, not stop gaining it.
Flip that and – when it comes to money – often our thoughts tend to lead to making more of it, taking for granted what we already have.
With the third word, ‘care’, I am talking about insurances, and effective ones - not cheap and cheerful, money-wasting ones.
You might think your most important asset is your house, but your most important asset is actually your ability to earn an income.
What if you were to become sick or get injured? How would you afford to live? How would your family, if you have one?
Even if you are single, without dependants, income protection insurance is a vital safety measure.
For me, private health insurance is also non-negotiable.
It can give you almost immediate treatment options that you might not have or might have to wait for. I speak from personal experience.
Life insurance, if you have debts or dependants, is also a must.
It’s a new year and time to get cracking on the concepts key to your financial success in 2023.