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10 Things You Can Do To Optimize Your Finances in 2024

10 Things You Can Do To Optimize Your Finances in 2024

Optimizing your finances is about more than just ensuring you are not leaving money on the table. It is about giving back to yourself something everyone craves more of – time. We can make countless decisions about our finances, and it is easy to feel inundated with the many options available. Here, we will go over our top ten things you can do to optimize your finances this year, starting with...


Craft Short, Intermediate, and Long Term Goals and Commit to Them

Financial planning is about addressing the role that money plays in achieving the things in life that are of the utmost importance to you. With this, we create some action items that will help you along your journey to fulfilling your lifelong aspirations. Put simply, it is about getting a clear picture of where you are now and where you want to be. To do this, it is essential that you have goals to act as a north star for your financial voyage.


Just as it is essential to have goals, it is equally important to prioritize them. At times, your goals may conflict with one another, so it is super important to determine what you really want from your money and your life. Separate them into three timeframes:

  • Short-Term – call it less than a year,

  • Intermediate-Term – within the next couple of years, and

  • Long-term – a decade or more.


These goals do not need to be absolutely precise. In fact, if you try to get it ‘just right,’ it may make your head spin. If you have a specific goal and know the exact dollar amount needed, great! Otherwise, use your judgment and make your best guess.  


Make the Most of Your Company Benefits

As an employee, you should have received a handbook from your company outlining all the benefits offered. These are often rich with opportunities to help you optimize your finances. Take the time to read through the handbook, learn about each offering, and maximize your benefits. These may include:

  • A 401(k) match,

  • Health insurance

  • Dental insurance,

  • Vision insurance

  • Disability insurance,

  • Life insurance,

  • Legal services,

  • Stock options,

  • Commuter benefits,

  • Adoption assistance,

  • Education assistance and reimbursement,

  • And much more!


Put Your Cash Reserves to Work

With interest rates on cash equivalent securities over 5%, there is no reason to keep all of your cash reserves in a checking account, earning next to nothing. Treasury bills, money market funds, and certificates of deposit can be great ways to put your cash to work while taking next to no risk. If you prefer to open a high-yield savings account, there are plenty currently offering over 4.5%.


Have a Plan to Pay Down Debt

Make a list of all your debts, including the kind of debt (mortgage, credit card, student loan, etc.), the issuer, the interest rate, your monthly payment, the loan term, and your strategy for that loan. If you have debts that you would like to pay off this year, use the ‘snowball’ method – target your debts with the least favorable terms first and prioritize paying those off first.  


Your strategy may not even be to pay it off. For example, you may have student debt and want to maximize your public service loan forgiveness; or you may have locked in a mortgage rate under 3% before the Federal Reserve started raising interest rates, and you do not see the point in paying off your house at this point. Whatever your debt(s) may be, have a strategy for each.


Pay Yourself First and Automate Your Finances Where You Can

Once you have decided how you want to save and invest, you want to try your best to avoid getting caught up in all those little details. Instead, you want to automate your processes whenever possible. The great thing about this is that it helps you stay disciplined, minimizes emotionally charged decisions that can tarnish your objectivity, and keeps you from being tempted to stray from your plan when inevitable adverse events happen.


One way you can do this is through the ‘pay yourself first’ philosophy. When you receive your paycheck, save some money for yourself first before paying for your expenses. Another way you can do this is to set your bills to autopay. That way, you do not have to take time out of your busy schedule to pay the bill – it is automatically taken care of for you. Another easy way to automate your finances is through dollar cost averaging into your investments. This involves systematically and periodically investing money into your overall investing strategy.


Have Adequate Protection As You Build Wealth

It is a near certainty that life will happen and cause bumps in the road to your finances. You may lose your job, take on some financial risk that does not pan out how you hoped, or have a medical emergency. Whatever the case, great financial plans take uncertainty as a given and build in a certain amount of flexibility. Life does not always follow a linear path, and there are many ways to plan around life’s unknowns, primarily through insurance. That means having adequate coverage for the following:

  • Health Insurance

  • Disability Insurance

  • Life Insurance

  • Homeowners Insurance

  • Auto Insurance

  • Personal Liability Insurance


Build Credit

Your credit score is comprised of a combination of five factors:

  1. Payment history,

  2. Amounts you owe and your credit utilization,

  3. The length of your credit history,

  4. The different credit types you have (also called your credit mix), and

  5. New credit and new accounts.


Credit is one of those things that is easy to lose and difficult to repair. You can pull your credit reports from the three major reporting agencies (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax) once per year or free without penalty. You can do this on AnnualCreditReport.com.  


It is a good idea to take advantage of this to monitor the reports for accuracy. If you see an error in their report, you should immediately petition it in writing to the credit reporting agency. The agency will then investigate and reply within 30 days with its findings.  


Otherwise, the best way to build credit is incrementally doing all the small things right: do not miss any payments and make them on time, do not max out credit cards, etc., and with time, you will build credit.


Track Your Spending, Find Where You Are Overspending, And Fix It

Many free services, including from your existing credit card company, make it easy to track your spending. Once you have a sense of where your money is going, if you find that you are spending more than you take in, you must find a way to reduce it. There are small tricks you can pick up to spend less every month. For example, subscription services may have discounts for paying semi-annually or annually. Another example is that you can typically negotiate your bills, such as cable, internet, and phone. If you find they are unwilling to come down in price, it may be time to find a different service provider.


If the minor adjustments do not make a significant enough dent in your overspending, it may be time to start cutting back on things across the board. On the other hand, if you have excess cash flow, there are all sorts of possibilities for saving and investing to optimize your finances.


Keep It Simple

We meet many individuals with a confusing, overly complicated financial picture. This often stems from the belief that building substantial wealth means making your finances more and more complex. They believe there is some hidden knowledge or financial product that, if they can tap into it, will solve all their financial problems. We often see that as people start making more money, they want to take significant risks with it – purchase expensive investment products, chase short-term trends, take on too much debt, etc. Keep your finances simple. It helps you keep tabs on everything and more easily find the best solution, which is often the simplest, most straightforward one.


Have An Estate Plan

No one likes dwelling on our own mortality. Try as we may, avoiding thinking about negative future situations in your life will not prevent them from occurring. A bit of worst-case scenario planning will benefit you in the long run and help you sleep better at night, knowing that your family is protected if something were to happen to you. This includes keeping your beneficiary designations current and having your estate planning documents drafted or updated. If you need estate planning documents and help figuring out where to start, check out our post about the 3 Essential Estate Documents Everyone Should Have.


If you are looking for a financial advisor to help you optimize your finances, check us out! You can schedule a complimentary, no-obligation call with us here.


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About the Author

Holzberg Wealth Management is a family-owned and operated financial planning and investment management firm based in Marin County, CA. As your financial advisors, we serve you as a fiduciary and are fee-only, so we never receive commissions of any kind. We help individuals and families like you in the greater San Francisco Bay Area and virtually nationwide with the financial decision-making process to organize, grow, and protect your assets.



** This writing is for informational purposes only. The author and Holzberg Wealth Management do not guarantee or otherwise promise any results that may be obtained from using this report. No reader should make any investment decision without first consulting their financial advisor and conducting their own research and due diligence. These commentaries, analyses, opinions, and recommendations represent the personal and subjective views of the author and do not constitute a recommendation, offer, or solicitation to make any securities transaction. The information provided in this report is obtained from sources that the author believes to be reliable. External links to third parties are being provided for informational purposes only. Holzberg Wealth Management is not affiliated with the third-party websites linked to, unless otherwise explicitly stated, and does not constitute an endorsement or approval by Holzberg Wealth Management of any of the third party’s products, services, or opinions.

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