Financially Fit 2014: 'The Carr Guide to Personal Wealth'

Look for 'leakage', increase investing, give more to others.
January 3, 2014 7:49:41 AM PST
Increase your financial health while you're sleeping! Begin with the easy steps that we can take to increase our financial fitness.

1. Take the first month of the year and "look for leakage".

A key place to spot leakage is with credit cards. Check your credit cards for reoccurring monthly or annual charges. Many times we've signed up for things that we no longer use, no longer need.

    This could include:
  • subscriptions to magazines or websites
  • renewals for services warranties or customer service packages
  • memberships to stores or programs
  • business idea or legal/business services.

$7.99 @monthly = $95.88
14.99 @ monthly = $179.88
49.99 @monthly = $599.88
Total if you have one of each is $875.64.

Alternatively you could have invested in S&P 500 index fund last year, (such as Vanguard 500 Index Fund which returned over 30%). That $875 could have grown to over $1,100? while you were sleeping.

A second place credit cards can create leakage is with changes is rates or charges that you may not have noticed over time. Look for these and either work with the company to lower/eliminate them or find a new card company.

Saving 5 percentage points (9% vs. 14%) on credit card with a balance of $5000, can put $250 in your pocket while you're sleeping.

2. Commit to increase your investing, even if it's only a little.

For many companies, the New Year is a time where you can sign up for company benefit programs. Use this year to take more advantage of 401k's and other retirement and investing opportunities your company can afford.

While large investments are great, small investments are great when they are consistent. An increase of 1% of your salary or even $25 per month can add up. $25 per month, for 10 years, at 8% could add up to an extra $4,573 dollars?. while you're sleeping.

Given the recent job reports, the moves by the Federal Reserve to begin tapering its Quantitative Easing, and Congress coming together with a compromise budget that reduced the risk of another government shutdown, which President Obama recently signed, shows that 2014 could be a year of which presents more opportunities to increase your investment portfolio no matter how large or small.

3. Commit to give a little more to charity or to others.

I am a big believer in "pay it forward" type concepts. One of the best way to increase yourself financially, is it to look for opportunities to help others with the only expectations is that they help others. Even if you are already a big giver, still give a little more.

In 2014, I would look for 3 ways to anonymously "pay it forward" or maybe commit to do it once a month. We've all seen the power of what Greg Parady in paying off the Christmas layaway bills for customers at Walmart. Once again, it doesn't have to be a lot. Maybe you don't have $20,000 to give away, but you may have a $1 or $2 for a toll on the interstate. Pay the toll for the car behind you one day. You'll bring a smile to their face and they will probably never forget it.

Remember, if you sow good, good will come back to you exponentially? many times while you're sleeping!