MANILA – The New Year is a new opportunity to conquer financial issues. Financial adviser Salve Duplito suggests five financial moves for 2015 that will turbocharge the journey to money goals.
1) Simplify the way you track your spending
According to Duplito, there are many ways to track expenses in a simple manner.
She said tracking expenses is important because “every little bit counts and discipline is the genetic make-up of investing success.”
“Budget tracking helps us to mindfully use our money, so that we can invest more of it,” she said.
To track expenses, Duplito suggests using an envelope system, a budget spreadsheet, a small notebook, or mobile apps.
The expense tracker app Toshl Finance, for instance, allows you to record your expenses in three clicks.
“The best way to use Toshl is to record each expense right after you make it, not at the end of the day when you’re tired and just about to crash into your bed, that’s when budget tracking becomes a chore,” she said, noting that whatever method is used, what’s important is that it is simple and easy so that you will stick with it longer.
2) Master escrow budgeting
Duplito defines escrow budgeting as the method for automating savings by creating different accounts for different savings needs.
“When you successfully tracked your spending for at least six months, you have a clearer idea of the major expenses you need to save for every year,” she said.
These expenses may include taxes, tuition, car maintenance, annual insurance premiums and travel.
Automated transfers provided by banks is a little trick that “cures a lot of financial headaches,” Duplito said.
“It gives additional help in curbing spending because what remains in your expense account is the amount that you can move around,” she added.
Duplito also suggested dividing total annual savings needs by 12 to make financial goals easier to achieve.
“Try this strategy this year and you’ll never worry about finances ever again,” she said.
3) Make long-term investments the first bill you have to pay every month
Duplito also stressed the need for making long-term investments a top priority before paying bills.
“When you get your salary, the first thing that you set aside is savings and investments. If because of this, money becomes short, then challenge yourself to earn more to pay your bills,” she said.
4) Investigate at least one company for stock acquisition
Studying a company for acquiring stocks is another worthwhile financial move, said Duplito. She advised downloading annual reports instead of downloading apps and MP3 files.
“It may be boring in the beginning, but the habit can catch on once you find a good buy and earn enough money from it to buy a new smartphone or better yet, a happier retirement,” she said.
Duplito added that investigating a company doesn’t have to be a highfalutin exercise, and can involve studying a firm’s cash assets, revenues expected, comparative strength, current value and number of shares in the market, and comparing these with the existing market price
“It gives you discipline, challenges your intellect and makes investing fun,” she said.
5) Consult a financial adviser
Asking for professional advice from experts is another key money move, but Duplito warned that due diligence is needed when choosing a financial adviser.
She suggests getting personal recommendations from credible individuals to avoid taking advice from a “sales person masquerading as a financial adviser.”
“Remember that you determine your own financial success whether you’re born poor or born with wealth, there’s no limit to what you can do,” she said.