If you made a few New Year’s Resolutions for next year, chances are at least one is money-related. According to a study by Fidelity Investments, about a third of Americans plan to make a financial resolution for 2019.
But whether you resolve to save more money or get on track for retirement, figuring out where to start can seem daunting. Fortunately, these financial experts shared their best advice on what to do with your money in 2019.
1. Take your savings online.
“If someone is sitting on a large amount of cash in their checking or savings account, they are missing out on earning interest. Rather than receiving 0.01 – 0.09 percent at their brick and mortar bank, they can set up a high-yield online savings account and earn around 2 percent. For someone with $50,000 in their savings account, transferring this money into a high-yield online savings account can add an extra $1,000 or more each year. The best part is unlike CDs, the funds aren’t locked-in for any length of time.” ― Matt Kircher, financial planner and founder of Fairpoint Wealth Management
2. Increase your income with a side hustle.
“I suggest that people launch a side hustle in the new year. Why? It’s easy. Many of them are fun. And some are really lucrative, paying between $30 and $90 an hour. One side hustle that is perfect for college students (or retirees) is called CoolWorks, which finds you seasonal jobs in resorts and national parks. My son and his girlfriend, meanwhile, charge electric scooters every night for both Bird and Lime. They figure they earn about $40-$50 a day that way. And it takes them about an hour to collect and deliver the scooters. Some of the cooking and beauty side hustles are also fun and well-paid. I also love the tourism ones, which allow you to structure, price and schedule your own local tours.” ― Kathy Kristof, award-winning journalist and editor at SideHusl.com
3. Transfer your debt – and then get rid of it.
“Many people feel like they’re drowning in credit card debt after the holidays. Consider opening a credit card that offers 0 percent APR on balance transfers. For instance, Chase Slate offers a 0 percent introductory APR for the first 15 months on balance transfers and purchases. This helps make monthly payments more affordable so you can pay down that debt fast.” ― Farnoosh Torabi, personal finance expert and best-selling author
4. Bump up your 401(k) contribution.
“A good way to save more and not notice it is to increase 401(k) contributions by 1 percent each year. Starting 2019 off right doesn’t have to feel painful from a financial perspective ― making this little tweak, assuming it fits into your financial plan, can pay off big years down the road.” ― Ian Bloom, financial planner and owner of Open World Financial Life Planning
5. Call your credit card issuer and ask for your limits to be raised.
“Credit cards limits play into your overall credit utilization, which then has an impact on your credit score. And your credit score affects the interest rates you pay to borrow money. One way to improve your credit utilization ― and therefore, your credit score ― is to pay down debts or to increase limits on existing debt. Most credit card companies will raise your rate periodically after you’ve made several on-time payments, but you can also call your credit card company and request they review your credit limit. Just keep in mind that they might run a credit check” ― Nick Stanley, certified financial planner and founder of Protogé Wealth Planning
6. Consider a Roth conversion.
“For anyone whose income was lower than expected this tax year and has money in an IRA, it’s a good idea to determine if a Roth conversion makes sense. This entails converting money from your Traditional IRA to your Roth IRA and paying taxes on the amount. The goal here is to move funds from a tax-deferred account to a tax-free account and paying a low tax rate to do so. The benefit is that once the money is in the Roth, all the future growth is 100 percent tax-free. Some situations where I’ve seen this make sense is when transitioning careers, going back to school, starting a business or retiring. Keep in mind, a Roth conversion must be done by Dec. 31 of the current tax year.” ― Danny G. Michael, certified financial planner and principal at Satori Wealth Management
7. Contribute to your HSA.
“If you’re eligible to contribute to a health savings account, do it! People neglect to fund those accounts, but they’re extremely powerful with the potential for triple tax benefits. And don’t necessarily spend the money — you can leave it in your HSA for years because there’s no ‘use it or lose it’ feature. Healthcare expenses don’t seem to be going away, and there’s a good chance you’ll want that money in retirement.” ― Justin Pritchard, certified financial planner and owner of Approach Financial
Responses have been edited and condensed for clarity.