If you are anything like me making resolutions, you've probably already focused on self-care goals for the new year – healthier eating, exercise, learning a new skill, saving money, etc. Oftentimes though, we put some important action-items on the backburner that really need our attention, although they can seem much less entertaining in our overall quest for self-improvement.
The 6 following key items can really benefit you as an individual, family, or business if you go ahead and add them to this year’s resolutions checklist:
1. Backup Your Data
It goes without saying that technology is a part of our lives and much of what we do, whether for a household or business, is done electronically. Fact is, devices can fail and there can be data loss. For many people, they don’t really grasp how important it is to backup their data and unfortunately many find out the hard way – usually when it is too late. There are different methods for backing up a device, many of which are quite inexpensive and not as time-consuming as you think. Backups should really happen regularly (minimum should be once a week) and especially when you regularly handle important electronic documents and files. If you have been putting it off, make your device backup a priority for the new year.
2. Protect Against Identity Theft
As important as backing up your data, it’s also smart to take steps to protect yourself from online threats. Criminals, scammers, hackers, malware, data breaches, and more continue to run rampant in our digital world – all in efforts to steal your personal or financial data. Most of us would probably rather get a root canal than to take the time to go and change all account passwords, but being proactive and making this a new year’s resolution can really help protect you. Be alert to phishing and spoofing, and never provide sensitive information through an email, even if it looks official. If a company needs information, make sure that you log into their secure site to provide that info instead of clicking on a link. Monitor your credit reports regularly and if there are any concerns that your identity has been stolen, report it immediately.
3. Reorganize Your Info
Not a huge shocker to hear this one, right? Probably one of our LEAST favorite things to do is to add more work onto our already packed schedules. But despite the added chore, it can make a huge impact just to reorganize and review what is most important for your household, family, or business, especially when a year can bring so many changes.
Key Items to Reorganize:
Login Information & Passwords
Estate, Property, or Business Information
Leases and Financial Contracts
Tax & Investment Documents
Receipts of Purchase
Legal & Official Documents
4. Review Your Existing Policies & Accounts
Take some time to review your contracts, policies, accounts, and other key items. Read the fine print, understand the terms & conditions, identify balances, recurring expenses, responsibilities, liabilities, etc. Have a good overall understanding of your policies and accounts and ask the right questions if you are not clear or have concerns. This knowledge can help shape future goals, give insight on future complications, as well as future financial planning.
5. Create a Budget or Financial Plan
All of us are dealing with the impacts of 2020, the global pandemic, and still carry many of the same uncertainties into this new year. So many have already experienced changes (or loss) in income, or had to make adjustments to expenses to make ends meet. It is crucial to know where you stand financially, how to manage or improve debt moving forward, and plan for any future impacts in today’s economy. It’s always a good idea to revisit or create a family budget or financial plan for the new year.
6. Make a Contingency Plan in Case of Emergency
Carrying over some of the most concerning impacts of the last year, it is never a bad idea to plan for the worst. With 2020 proving to be the most disastrous years of natural disasters in the U.S., and a global pandemic forcing quarantines, job loss, and business closings, it has taught us they you can never be too careful. Create an emergency plan that you can share with your family should a crisis or disaster happen. Form a contingency plan for your business that is shared with your executive team. Having that plan can truly save much grief and loss should an emergency occur.
Obviously these concepts aren't just stemming from a legal standpoint, they're popular personal and business goals. Having the right knowledge to do what's best for your family and business and then acting accordingly can make a huge impact in preparing for the year. Early resolutions and future planning can offer great ways to achieve the most out of your 2021!