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Financial Resolutions for 2020

It’s a new year, a new decade, and the perfect time to renew healthy habits, including those in your financial life. Like any good habit, setting intentions and priorities is important. At Ballast Advisors, we know that our clients who are intentional and diligent about their financial goals have more success. 

You may have already set your big financial goals, like saving for retirement, planning for your child’s education or buying your dream home (And if you haven’t started that process, call us).

But here are some tips for smaller resolutions you can consider trying in 2020 to improve your discipline around your personal financial planning and retirement goals.

Create (and Stick) to a Budget Goal

Okay, this is low hanging fruit, but consider setting a new and unique goal with your budget. “It’s easy for a client to say I want to save more money or trim expenses, but getting specific is key. Pick an expense or determine where you are going to save money,” says Scott Peterson, wealth advisor at Ballast Advisors. 

If you’re someone who generally spends first then tries to save what they can at the end of each month you should consider paying yourself first.  Set a simple savings goal for each paycheck and get that out of the way before paying any bills.  “Maybe you start at $10 a paycheck, maybe it’s $500…everybody is different,“ suggests Richard Juckel, financial planner at Ballast Advisors. “A general rule of thumb is to try and save 15-20% of your pre-tax income. If you have a steep hill to climb to reach your savings goals, start small and work your way up.”

plant growing out of savings jar of coins

Save to the Max

Are you making the most of your executive benefits package? At a minimum if your company offers a retirement savings plan with a match you could be leaving money on the table if you’re not contributing to the plan.  Consider saving at least the amount your employer is willing to match. Saving the matching amount alone is rarely enough to meet most people’s retirement plans, but it’s a great place to start!

BONUS TIP: Save your raise. If you’re fortunate enough to receive a raise throughout the year, consider using the increased income to step up your savings plan.  These incremental savings increases could really add up over time.

Audit Your Autopayments

Set time aside to review anything that is on auto-payment. $5.99 here and $14.99 there add up quickly over time. Do you still need that music subscription or meditation app you forgot you subscribed to last year?

 This is also a great time to evaluate your rates for things like insurance and other monthly services and fees. Are you getting the best rate?

Go to the Pros

There is a load of free content out there to help you improve your financial acumen. Commit to reading a finance blog weekly, or find a podcast. Make it a routine to listen to your podcast during your workout, or on your commute from work.

“On the Ballast Advisors website, we offer free financial tools, calculators and financial education,” says Paul Parnell, wealth advisor at Ballast Advisors. “Or if you’re not using a financial planner, consider a free consultation.”

The process of having a professional review your employer sponsored retirement plan in addition to other investments and savings, can help you determine if you are on track.

“A great oldie but really good book on paying for yourself first and saving is The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko,”  Parnell adds.

Related Post: Financial Planner vs Financial Advisor? Making sense of  these titles and other tips on choosing a financial professional

man holding  mobile phone

Embrace a New Technology

Maybe this is the year you try a new app. There are many great technology services to help you track your spending better. Consider an app like Mint, where you can track income and expenses. This article on Investopedia lists the top personal finance apps in 2019.

Or check with your financial planner. Ballast Advisors clients have a customized portal to review their portfolio online. 

Schedule a monthly reminder in your phone to review your app or portal.

Again, it’s easy to say you want to save more money or trim expenses in 2020, but making intentional and specific steps is key. 

For more information on how Ballast Advisors helps clients with personal financial planning, executive benefits, and saving for retirement, and see Our financial advisors serving the Twin Cities and Southwestern Florida can help you reach your retirement and financial goals.  Our offices are located in Woodbury, MN, Arden Hills, MN and Punta Gorda, FL.



The opinions expressed are those of Ballast Advisors, LLC. The opinions referenced are as of the date of publication and are subject to change due to changes in the market or economic conditions and may not necessarily come to pass. These opinions contain references to material provided by third-party sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed for accuracy.  

Ballast Advisors, LLC is a registered investment advisor under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. More information about the firm, including its services, strategies, and fees can be found in our ADV Part 2, which is available without charge upon request. The opinions expressed herein are those of Ballast Advisors, LLC and are subject to change without notice.