Your Financial Wellness in 2024

Q: I’m looking to get my “financial house” in order this year and want to make sure I’m starting off on the right foot. What should be my first steps to consider?

A: It just so happens that January is Financial Wellness Month, which means it’s a good time for us to plan and update our financial strategy.  Here are some tips to get you on the right path in 2024, and beyond.

Defining Financial Wellness
The first thing to do is define what “financial wellness” means for you. This varies drastically from person to person. It is informed by who you are, where you are coming from, and what your experiences with money are. A person who has had serious financial troubles in their life might have different expectations than a person who has enjoyed relative financial stability.

How, then, is “financial wellness” defined? First, ask yourself what you need to feel secure, financially speaking. Here are some questions to consider: 

  • How much should you have saved? 
  • How much income should you be bringing in each month? 
  • Where are you at with your debt? 
  • Would things be simpler if you carried less debt? 
  • How fluid is your cash flow when it comes to expenses that are not urgent (taking your family out to dinner or on a short trip) versus larger financial goals (such as buying a new kitchen appliance)? 
  • Finally, and perhaps most importantly, will you be able to retire at your target age?

Financial Wellness Goals
Thinking about financial wellness is often a matter of setting goals for what you can accomplish now and what you can work on to make it a part of your larger financial strategy. For now, consider taking these actions:

  • Have a values-based conversation with the decision-makers in your household, meaning any tax-paying adult who contributes income and shares responsibility for the bills. This could be your spouse or a family member. Make sure that the non-essential things you are spending money on line up with your commitments to meeting your financial needs. This is not a “stop getting lattes” conversation; it is a “Are we spending money on the things that matter?” conversation.
  • Consider automating payments, especially for regular items, including student loans, credit cards and other installment payments.
  • Create an emergency fund reflecting 3–6 months of household expenses to establish a stable foundation going forward. If that seems too ambitious, build the fund a month at a time until you reach your goal.
  • Make regular contributions to your retirement accounts. Take advantage of any matching contributions you might get from your employer. 
  • Make long-term financial goals. If you are thinking in terms of buying a house, for instance, let that guide your overall financial strategy.  
  • Is becoming totally debt-free an achievable goal? It can be, if you make it a priority. That said, being totally debt-free can be a difficult task for most households. For that reason, it may be better for you to focus on your other goals first and make debt freedom a target for a later date: for example, being debt-free by retirement.

These are, of course, not hard and fast rules. As mentioned above, every individual has their own specific definition of financial wellness. Some of these examples might feel like a long reach. Others, you might already be practicing. The good news is that with careful practice and judicious scrutiny, many people can gain a feeling of satisfaction and even pleasure from maintaining financial wellness.

Having your financial strategy in place can mean not only a great deal to you in the long term but may also provide you some comfort in the short term. Schedule a time to discuss this with your trusted financial professional today.

This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information and provided with the assistance of Twenty Over Ten. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.

Jeremy R. Gussick is a Registered Representative with, and securities and advisory services are offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor, Member FINRA/SIPC.

Gussick & Barnett Financial Planning and LPL Financial are separate entities.

*As reported by Financial Planning magazine, June 1996-2023, based on total revenues.

**Award based on 10 objective criteria associated with providing quality services to clients such as credentials, experience, and assets under management among other factors. Wealth managers do not pay a fee to be considered or placed on the final list of 2023 Five Star Wealth Managers.

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Jeremy R. Gussick is a Certified Financial Planner™ professional affiliated with LPL Financial, the nation’s largest independent broker-dealer.* Jeremy specializes in the financial planning and retirement income needs of the LGBTQ+ community and was recently named a 2023 FIVE STAR Wealth Manager as mentioned in Philadelphia Magazine.** He is active with several LGBTQ+ organizations in the Philadelphia region, including DVLF (Delaware Valley Legacy Fund) and the Independence Business Alliance (IBA), the Philadelphia Region’s LGBT Chamber of Commerce. OutMoney appears monthly. If you have a question for Jeremy, you can contact him via email at [email protected].