We all would like to end each year richer then when we started. Below is a list of 10 ways to end 2018 richer then today.
Set up automatic savings.
Saving money can be difficult, but not necessarily if it is automatic. There are numerous
banks and online sites that allow you to automatically transfer money from your checking
account to a savings account. My suggestion is to have your savings account be at a
completely different bank so that you aren’t constantly looking at the balance. My other
suggestion is to set an amount that you aren’t going to miss. Don’t start so big that it
throws your life out of whack. Start small, see how it goes, and then add more. Whether
you are being paid weekly, bimonthly, or monthly, set it up so that the money moves right
after payday into your savings account.
Ask for a raise — or change jobs.
It has been almost 10 years since the start of the Great Recession and over 8 years since it was officially over, yet people are still scared about their employment. This is more of an internal question, are you being paid what you deserve for the work that you are doing? Unemployment is down around 4%, so if you think you aren’t being paid the right amount, ask for a raise. Again, this is internal, if your boss told you last week they are cutting costs, today probably isn’t the best day to ask for that raise. Are you concerned that your boss will be upset if you ask for a raise? Looking for other options might not hurt. A lot of companies are hiring and if you have a marketable skill set, a 10, 20, or even 30% raise is entirely possible with a new job.
Put your money in a high-yield savings account.
You now have automatic savings, but now what to do with the money you have saved? You need to have 3 to 6 months’ worth of expenses saved somewhere where you can access it rather easily and you need to be earning money on this money. Interest rates are still crazy low, but that doesn’t mean you should not be taking advantage of the options that are out there. A high-yield savings account should be earning you over 1%. If you are not earning 1%, keep looking.
Invest in the stock market.
Long-term wealth has been created by investing in the stock market. Over the past 100
years on average, the stock market has returned about 8%. For those of you thinking the
stock market is at an all-time high and will likely fall, you may be right, or you may be
wrong. The stock market will at some point go backwards, but on average over the last 100 years the stock market has been positive every 4 out of 5 years. If you are looking to make a windfall in 6 months, then this isn’t for you. If you want long-term wealth, then this is where you need to be.
Find cheaper housing.
House prices are back up and in some areas, are as strong as they were before the housing bubble burst. Take a look at the equity you have in your home; now may be a good time to sell.
If you do get that crazy good offer take it and down size your house. Maybe it means moving in an older house, smaller house, or both.
Buy a rental property.
If house prices are up, so why should you be buying? People are still having a difficult time getting financing which forces them to rent. In some cases, renters are paying over 30% more than what a mortgage would cost on a similar house. If you can qualify for another mortgage or have the ability to buy another house to rent out, you can earn some very good returns.
Increase your 401(k) contribution.
If you have a retirement plan through work, my suggestion is to contribute up to whatever the company is willing to match. Free money is happy money. Even if your employer doesn’t match contributions, you should still be making contributions to the plan provided. If you are already adding to the plan, add just 1% more for 2018.
Try a backdoor Roth IRA if your income is high.
A Roth IRA is a great way to pay taxes today and then never pay them again. Some people haven’t been allowed to contribute to a Roth IRA because they earn too much money. For these people, the process of a backdoor Roth IRA was created. The one counter intuitive of a backdoor Roth IRA is that it creates a tax bill, which means less money in 2018, but your future net worth will go up.
Start a side hustle.
If you want to end 2018 with more money, start a business or start monetizing your hobby. A side hustle can be a rewarding endeavor. If you have an artistic side, open an Etsy store and sell your stuff online. If you are collector, start selling your collections on eBay. If you are already a hobbyist or have a good side venture going on, consider the idea of getting paid for it as an extra bonus.
Eliminate the crap.
Finally, if you want to end 2018 richer, eliminate the crap. Stop buying things you don’t
need and sell the stuff you have that you don’t necessarily need. Sadly, I bet all of us have hundreds if not thousands of dollars’ worth of stuff in our homes, garages, and storage units that we don’t use or even forgot we had. Use Ebay, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace, your trash may be someone else's treasure.