Your Bank > Education and Advice > CNB University

Get a Fresh Start on Your Finances in 2023

L Haelen 2016
Laurie Haelen, AIF®
Senior Vice President, Director of Wealth Solutions
[email protected]
(585) 419-0670 x41970

There's no doubt about it — 2022 has been a tumultuous year for the financial markets. If you are looking forward to a fresh start this year, why not begin with your personal finances? Here are some tips to help you get started.

Examine your budget

One way to start the year off right financially is to examine your budget. First, identify your income and expenses. Next, add each of them up and compare the two totals to make sure you are spending less than you earn. Hopefully you've been able to stay the course during the pandemic and your budget is still on track. If you find that your expenses outweigh your income, you'll need to make some adjustments. For example, if you've experienced a loss or reduction in income during the year, you may need to cut back on certain discretionary spending (e.g., online shopping, take-out) or look for ways to lower your fixed costs, which may require more significant changes.

Once you have a solid budget in place, it's important to stick with it. And while straying from your budget from time to time is normal, there are some ways to help make working within your budget a bit easier:

  • Make budgeting a part of your daily routine
  • Build occasional rewards into your budget
  • Evaluate your budget on a regular basis and make changes when necessary
  • Use budgeting software/apps to help analyze saving and spending patterns

Rethink your financial goals

While the market downturn may have sidelined or stalled some of your financial goals, now is a good time to regain your focus. Take a look at the financial goals you set for yourself last year. Perhaps you wanted to increase your emergency fund or save money for a down payment on a home. Maybe you wanted to invest more money towards your retirement? Do you have any goals you would like to achieve in 2023?

It is a good idea to memorialize these goals in writing and then check your progress regularly throughout the year. Finally, if your personal or financial circumstances changed, will you need to reprioritize your goals?

Make sure your investment portfolio is still on target

Despite the pandemic, the U.S. stock market ended 2021 at an all-time high-but has now declined significantly from that level in 2022. Despite the stress market downturns can often elicit, it is usually a good time to contribute more when markets are down. When evaluating your investment portfolio, you'll want to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I still have the same time horizon for investing as I did last year or prior to the market downturn?
  • Has my tolerance for risk changed?
  • Do I currently have an increased need for liquidity?
  • Does any investment now represent too large (or too small) a part of my portfolio?

Rebalancing your portfolio at least annually can ensure that your asset allocation remains in line with your long-term financial goals.

Pay down your debt

Reducing debt is part of any healthy financial plan. Whether you have student loan debt, an auto loan, and/or credit card balances, you'll want to try to pay it down as quickly as possible. Start by tracking all of your balances and being mindful of interest rates and hidden fees. Next, optimize your repayments by paying off any high-interest debt first and/or taking advantage of debt consolidation/refinancing programs.

If an event in your life has made it difficult for you to pay down your debt, you may want to contact your lenders to see if they offer financial assistance. Many lenders may be willing to work with you by waiving interest and certain fees or allowing you to delay, adjust, or even skip some payments.

Get help if you need it

If you have not worked with a financial professional before and are finding it difficult to navigate the many facets of your financial life, you may want to consider engaging with one. Our team at CNB Wealth Management is always standing by, ready to help you with any financial questions or concerns you may have. Most importantly, we wish you all the best in 2023.

©2022 Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved. This material provided by Laurie Haelen.

This material is provided for general information purposes only. Investments and insurance products are not FDIC insured, not bank deposits, not obligations of, or guaranteed by Canandaigua National Bank & Trust or any of its affiliates. Investments are subject to investment risks, including possible loss of principal amount invested. Past performance is not indicative of future investment results. Before making any investment decision, please consult your legal, tax or financial advisor. Investments and services may be offered through affiliate companies.