Christmas can be a stressful time for families. Not just financially, but in our time-poor society, people often feel overwhelmed at this time of year. Buying stuff that we don’t need is for some a way of coping.

Here is the best present that you can give yourself. Take a day, half a day, even a few hours over the holiday break and make a financial plan for next year. If the kids are old enough to understand money, involve them too. Just think about the habit you’ll be creating for them.

Most people spend more time planning their Christmas holidays than they do planning their finances. Your challenge is to be different. I’m sure that you wouldn’t want to work for a company that has no plan, so why should your own household be any different.?

When most people hear the words “financial planning”, they switch off. They think it’s all too hard and the first word that comes to mind is the dreaded “budget”.

I’m talking about making a plan for next year. It doesn’t have to be a grand financial plan for the rest of your life, just something that you can measure next Christmas. It could be some simple goals, e.g.; join KiwiSaver, get your Wills sorted, cut up the credit card and use cash, pay off high-interest debt, knock a year or two off the mortgage. It could also be educational. Learn about compound interest, learn to cook. Start small and create an annual habit. You’ll be surprised at the long-term results.

January always has some wet days. Take the time to think and talk about the next year. Write down a few goals. This is really important. Then stick them on the fridge. Happy planning. 😊

Mark Lynch is a Financial Adviser. His Disclosure Statement is available free upon request. Any comments in this article are the opinion of the writer and should not be construed as financial advice.

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Your Christmas Present to Yourself