This is an excerpt from the CNBC Make It newsletter. Subscribe here.
I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling (20)22.
Or at least, I’m feeling ready to make some changes to my money and financial habits. If you’d like to as well, this list is a good place to start.
You can think of these as financial resolutions, or as relatively easy financial to-do’s to maximize your money next year. Not every task will apply to every person, but hopefully there’s enough variety that you’ll find a few that appeal to you.
Something else to consider: You don’t need to check off every single item all at once. Bookmark this and come back to it throughout the year, or use it as a jumping off point to make your own list for 2022. (If you do make your own, I’d love to see it.)
Without further ado, here are 22 ways to make the most of your money in 2022.
1. Picture your perfect year
As you’re ringing in the new year, take time to reflect on 2021 and think about what, if anything, you’d like to do differently in 2022. What went well in 2021? What would you like to change in 2022? Is there anything you’ve been putting off that you can finally take strides toward accomplishing? Spend an evening considering what you want out of the year.
2. Track your growth
If you want a decent overview of your financial standing, calculating your net worth is a good start. This is essentially your assets (cash in checking and savings accounts, investments, real estate, cars, etc.) less your debts (student loans, mortgages, overdue credit card bills, etc.).
Try doing this at the start of each month in 2022 to see if and how you are progressing toward any savings or debt repayment goals. You can use an app like Personal Capital or You Need a Budget, or create your own Excel tracking sheet. I do the latter, tracking the balances in my savings account, checking account, 401(k), Roth IRA and brokerage account on the first day of each month. Currently I have no debt, but if I did, I would include those balances as well.
Comparing my December 2021 balance to early 2019, when I started, shows me how my monthly contributions have slowly grown my net worth, even if they don’t feel like much in the moment. And if I see a drop from one month to the next, I figure out what’s going on and if there’s anything I need to do to get back on track.
3. Invest in an index fund
4. Be careful with trading apps
Invest, yes, but be careful doing it through apps that make a game out of investing, particularly short-term investments and trades. Stock picking can be fun, but it’s not a way for 99.9% of people to accrue wealth (see articles on index fund investing linked above).
If you are using trading apps or investing in high-risk assets, at least make sure that you have a sizable emergency fund held in an FDIC-insured savings account.