It’s a new year.
Last night, lots of folks celebrated with booze, fireworks and good times. The nation cheered as we ripped one calendar off the wall and stapled another in its place.
Today, some folks will spend the first day of the year in bed, nursing away last night’s good time. Others will give a nod to tradition with meals of “good luck.” And some – our kind of folks – will do something to create their own good luck.
If you came for a sappy look at the holiday, you missed it. That came yesterday.
If you came for yet another piece about resolutions and weight loss… keep moving. The internet is overflowing with them today.
But if you came for some good, old-fashioned, pragmatic advice that will put an extra buck or two into your pocket over the next 12 months… you’re in luck.
Pay attention and the ideas that follow could make you thousands of dollars in 2019.
The Year of the Dollar
One of the most important financial tasks of the year is also one of the most overlooked.
After the drubbing the markets took throughout the fall and especially in December, lots of folks will be too scared to look at their next statement.
The numbers won’t be good.
But here’s the thing… unless you take just a few minutes now to rebalance your portfolio, the numbers could be a lot worse a year from now.
Rebalancing is a simple concept.
We all know we shouldn’t have all our money in one asset or even a handful of assets. No, our wealth must be well-diversified. That way, if one asset class plunges, we still have plenty spread across other classes.
But after 12 months of volatility, we’re willing to bet your portfolio is out of balance.
Fix it today.
It’s a three-step process.
First, determine your ideal asset allocation (there are plenty of free resources on the web, including this one from me during my past life as the Editorial Director of one of the web’s preeminent investment education sites). Then see how your portfolio compares. And, finally, buy and sell shares until the two match.
Simple. It just takes time.
Depending on your broker’s platform or the type of investment account, balancing can be a five-minute job that’s as simple as a few mouse clicks.
But even if it’s a bit more complex, it’s a job worth tackling.
What you do today could put big money in your pocket this year.
Covering Your Mistakes
The second thing to tackle on this first day of the year is to take 10 or 20 minutes to check your insurance coverage.
Too many folks look at their policies as a “set it and forget it” venture.
That’s a bad idea.
Our needs change as the months and years go by.
You may find that you have too much coverage in some areas. As our cars depreciate, for example, we often don’t need as robust insurance on them. Or maybe you sold your boat last year and forgot to cancel its policy.
Other times, you may find you need more protection. Perhaps you have some heirlooms that need covered. Or, better yet, you bought a new boat and need to get it protected.
It doesn’t take long to pull out your insurance paperwork, make some notes and find some adjustments to make.
Once you know what you need, don’t be afraid to shop around.
These days, most rates are competitive, but few folks have bundled their policies under one company.
Doing so can save a bundle of cash.
Down the Drain
Finally… the simplest of them all.
This one won’t take long. It’s super easy and yet could save you big money this year… and prevent quite a catastrophe.
Drain your water heater.
Few folks bother to do it each year, but simply emptying your tank can add years to its life.
You see, the water in your tank spends most of the day just sitting there. There’s no movement until you turn on the hot water tap. As the water stagnates, minerals, dirt and other deposits settle out of it and fall to the bottom of the tank.
They lie there until they’re removed.
It’s not good. The deposits cause rust and corrosion within your tank. They can clog up your pipes and faucets. And they add bad stuff to your drinking water.
Fortunately, every water heater is made to be drained quickly and easily.
Simply turn off the heater, hook an ordinary garden hose to the valve at the bottom of the tank and open it up.
The tank will empty its contents (so make sure your drain can handle the volume) and flush all the bad stuff out with it.
Do this simple move at least once each year and your tank and its components will last far longer.
It’s another quick and easy money saver… the perfect way to start a new year.