Professional Development

How to get your financial life in order before the new year

Written by Eric Titner

Are you finally ready to get your financial health in better shape? If so, then you’re thinking wisely, because it’s never too soon to start taking your relationship with money more seriously and plan for your future—like it or not, it’s going to come eventually, and those who prepare for it in advance will be ready to face it responsibly and with as little anxiety as possible.

For most of us, the future can be an uncertain entity—what our professional and personal lives will look like as the months, years, and decades roll forward can be difficult to predict, and unexpected twists and turns along the way can derail our plans and force us to revise our goals along the way. This uncertainly can cause a great deal of stress, so it makes sense to have as much under our control and working in our favor as possible. Having a financial safety net of sorts to help see us through is obviously beneficial.

Have we convinced you that it’s a good idea to start getting your financial life in order? If so, then keep reading, and consider using the following strategies to get you started on the right path.

Get serious

One of the most important aspects of getting yourself in good financial shape is to get in the proper mindset for doing so. Like most endeavors in life that require a change in behavior and extended displays of discipline, being in the right mental space at the onset, during the critical first steps, is an essential ingredient for success.

So, in order to get started with the right attitude and mindset, try making a list of goals for getting your life in financial order. Both short- and long-term goals are fair game here. Do you want to pay back a loan or reduce your debt? Do you want to make a significant purchase sometime in the future that you want to be in better financial shape for, like a car or home? Are you preparing for a major life change, like a move or starting a family? Having a set of tangible (and achievable!) goals on your radar can help you get in the right mindset for making smart financial decisions—both now and over the long haul. The truth is, sometimes it takes having a destination in your sights to make it through a long journey.

Start small

For most of us, we can’t simply buy our way to financial freedom—it’s more of a long, hard road than a quick sprint, and it’s a journey that often never has a definitive end. So, think of your initial move to get your financial life in order as a series of small steps in the right direction. Even if they don’t completely change your life in an instant, they’ll get you moving in the right direction and will help you develop fiscally responsible behaviors, build on your positive inertia, and bolster your mindset and discipline.

Think of some small ways you can get started—perhaps save a little bit of money each week from each paycheck or find a few ways you can earn some extra money (a part-time job or selling some of your unwanted stuff are great ideas). You can also try eliminating some unnecessary expenses in your life. Don’t look back—like any great journey, getting on the road to financial order begins with a single step.

Get help

One of the really nice things about getting your financial life in order these days is that there are more tools than ever before to help you stay on track. An army of app developers have devoted their efforts to creating financial planning, organizing, and saving tools that can help you get your finances in order and hit all of your money milestones along your path to financial freedom. A little Internet research to discover the latest and greatest apps that best meet your needs is time well spent. Many available apps are free or low cost, so testing some out and discovering the ones that work well for you through trial and error won’t be a monumental investment.

You can also turn to friends and family for help—the truth is, having the important people in our lives helping to keep us motivated can mean the difference between success and failure in a challenging situation. So, let your friends and family know about your financial plans, fill them in on how they can help, and use their support to achieve your goals.

Getting your life in financial order may not be easy, and you may stumble and restart at times along the way, but it’s a journey worth taking, and one that’s best to start early. Use the advice and strategies presented here to help get you moving in the right direction when it comes to your money and finances.

About the author

Eric Titner

Eric is a NYC-based editor and writer, with years of experience in career-focused content development across a wide range of industries.