Stretching Your Dollar: Recover from rough financial year by focusing on fundamentals

Lots of folks took a financial hit during the pandemic. Financial advisors say if you want to recover in 2021, it’s important to make a plan and stick to it.

For many, the past year has ended up being a tough hurdle to get over, moneywise, due to the pandemic.

But there are ways you can set yourself up for a financially strong 2021 and get those finances back on track.

Fidelity investments found that more than two-thirds of Americans were hit by a financial setback in 2020, mainly due to losing a job or facing an unexpected expense.

Stacey Watson handles Life Events Planning at Fidelity and says it’s clear people are worried about the pandemic’s impact on the economy, as well as their own bank accounts.

“A lot of people have had to tap into savings or emergency savings,” said Watson, “so people really have to use 2021 to get back on track.”

40% of people tell Fidelity that they expect to be in survival mode for the rest of this year.

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So to ease the strain experts say you need to resolve to be better with your income, keep an eye on the long term, make a financial plan and then stick to that plan.

Watson says you should begin with a budget, then take a look at your emergency savings and replenish that rainy-day fund if you tapped into it last year.

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Then focus on what’s important for the year ahead by saving more, spending less, and paying down debt.

“I think focusing on those very simple things and making a plan that’s very simple and specific and achievable will help make that happen,” said Watson.

 Financial experts also suggest you follow the 50/15/5 rule: Use no more than 50% of take-home pay for essential expenses, save 15% of pretax income for retirement, and keep 5% of take-home pay for short-term savings.

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