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  • Nurul Khairiah Mohamed Yusof

5 Ways to Get Started on Your 2021 Financial Resolution

What financial goals are you looking to achieve in 2021? Learn ways to make your 2021 financial goals a reality.

Imagine your usual financial resolutions for the upcoming year.


Do you want to increase your savings? Diversify your investment portfolio? Be free of student loan or property debt? Or simply have more income streams to build wealth?

To accomplish any (or all!) of these, you will need to set up goals that you can work towards achieving it. Setting goals can help you prioritize essential or non-essential things in life.


Below are some financial goals broken into different categories:


Basic life and money goals

  • Buy a home

  • Remodel or repair your house

  • Paying you debt, such as loans and credit cards

  • Find a new job

  • Buy a car for your growing family

  • Build an emergency fund

  • Donate some of your fortunes to charity monthly or annually

  • Set a career goal: start a new business, expand a current one

Family-related goals

  • Planning to get married

  • Planning to have children

  • College fees for children

  • Leave the workforce (to raise a family, pursuing college education, helping old parents)

  • Helping newly graduated children expenses

  • Leave an inheritance for loved ones.

Retirement-related goals

  • Increase your retirement contribution

  • Retire from working full-time or retire early

  • Moving to different place (lower cost of living, closer to family)

  • Pay your mortgage before you retire.

Setting goals is one thing, and most of the people already have a clear sights on doing everything in their power, be it paying off student loans or saving more for retirement. But, transforming those dreams into reality is another thing.


But, with the pandemic, for some people, planning for your financial resolution can be overwhelming especially if you are affected by the retrenchment, loss of profits from business or pay cuts.


Taking this into account, here are 5 ways you can get started on your 2021 financial resolution, even in the new normal.

1. Join a support group


A support group or finding your tribe can be a great way to help you reach any goal. Nowadays, in the era of internet and vast reach of social media, you can find forum or group, free or chargeable to join. These kind of group can be a medium to share important information on personal finances.This will help to strengthen connections between members and build a true community around shared financial goals.


For example, we have our My Personal Finances Facebook group where we share and discuss on the latest updates on personal finances and investing with other members. Members can also ask questions and get opinions on financial questions. We encourage healthy discussion among members in a safe environment (while our mods battle spammers).


If Facebook groups aren’t your thing, there are other options, including listening to podcasts focused on personal finance. Even if you aren’t having direct dialogue, listening to experts discuss money insights and tips can help keep you focused on your finances—and you may learn a few things along the way.

2. Understand your goals


No one can deny the benefit of creating financial goals. But, if you don’t understand the inner workings of those goals, you will miss the opportunity to make great progress towards achieving them.


For example, your goals for next year is to pay your students loans. But do you know how your plan will works? Do you review the benefits you will get if you pay earlier and more than what loans expected? Where can your money go after you finish the loan? Leisure or increasing your retirement savings with the leftover money?


Having a solid understanding of how your financial strategies work can help you to make smarter decisions abour your money. Read up more about your loan, be it private loan from National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) to understand how it works.


Not sure where to start? Read this article on 6 steps to clear your debt quickly

3. Take note of your credit record and score


It makes sense to review your credit score and pay close attention to the credit scores derived from Central Credit Reference Information System (CCRIS) report when your financial goals involved buying a new car or property. Having a strong credit score can help you to make your loan application have higher chance of approval from banking institution. But, sometimes your credit report can be essential when you are looking for a new job or applying for insurance.


You may request your credit information from the Credit Bureau. The request can only be made by the individual. In the case of business entity or deceased individual, the request can only be made by the person authorised by the entity (for business) or by the court (deceased).


For individual, the report can be obtained via eCCRIS, an online platform for users to access their CCRIS score at their convenience eccris website by visiting CCRIS kiosk in Bank Negara Malaysia offices and Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK)


Check for any incorrect information about your credit accounts, information that could be a warning that someone is misusing your account i.e credit card usage. You should also check your scoring purposes, your on-time payment history and the amounts you owe, or your credit utilization. Your credit score also looks at how long your line credit has been open and how much new credit you’ve been seeking and the different types of credit you use.


To build a good credit score will require immense discipline and with current situation now, majority of us are badly affected by the economic impact of the pandemic. I believe that you will make use of the loan moratorium and if needed, another additional targeted moratorium offered by banking institutions.

4. Keep track of each goals: priorities, needs, or wants


It can help if you prioritize your financial goals, so when it is needed, you know which one need to be done first. Label each goal on your worksheet, in three categories, critical, need or want. Let’s say you have a short-term goal to build up your emergency fund, and it falls under ‘critical’ category. You will work first toward allocating your income and managing your cash flow to ensure you have enough for other priorities after saving for the emergency fund


But if you have another short-term financial goal which is to change your current car, which is still running just fine – that’s a ‘want’ and you can act on it once your cashflow is stabilized.

5. Engage with a licensed financial planner


As we move into 2021, you must have several financial goals in your mind, but you are clueless as how to get started. Other than reading about personal finances tips in the internet which may be inaccurate (or even cringeworthy bad advice!), why don’t you consider engaging with a professional expert?


A licensed financial planner can help you to take a look at your current financial state and devise better strategies to eliminate financial risk and building your wealth in the long run. This strategy is a game plan that puts you on track to achieve your financial goals.

Conclusion


So, now that you list your personal financial resolution for the year 2021, let’s start by dividing it into 3 categories of critical, need and want. The process of achieving them can be tedious but with proper preparation and valid information as well as help from your financial planner, you are off to a great start next year!


Have you set your financial goals for 2021?


What is your strategy to achieve your 2021 financial resolution?

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