Person holding $100 bills

Believe it or not, more than a quarter of people are expected to start 2023 in debt, according to experts. 43% of 18 to 34-year-olds are believed to have ended 2022 in debt. And about a third of people will be in debt this year because of the cost of living. While these stats sound concerning, you can still secure your financial future this year by making the right money moves. So, whether you started the year off in debt or are concerned about your finances, here are five smart ways to secure your financial future in 2023.

Build an emergency fund

Consider saving at least three to six months' worth of expenses in your fund. You can start by setting aside a portion of your income each month. You can also set aside financial gifts, tax refunds, etc., to add to your emergency fund instead of spending them. Also, save your emergency fund in an easily accessible account so you don't attract early withdrawal penalties. Beyond having a 'traditional' emergency fund, it's also advisable to consider prepaid funeral plans. Such plans will keep you from drowning under a heavy financial burden in case of a sudden loss of a loved one.

Start saving for retirement

The last thing you want to do is wait until you hit your forties to start saving for retirement. Starting a retirement fund is never too early, regardless of how young you are. The earlier you start, the more time your savings have to grow. Also, an early start gives you a longer time horizon to save, meaning you can contribute smaller amounts each year to reach your retirement goals. Furthermore, unforeseen events such as health problems, job loss, or economic downturns can impact your ability to save for retirement later in life, making it all the more important to start early.

Diversify your investments

Almost every financial expert will advise investing your money into something profitable so that you can grow your money. But relying on a single investment move is like putting all your eggs in one basket, which is very risky. Instead, consider diversifying your investments to help reduce your overall risk and increase your chances of long-term success. You can invest in a mix of assets, such as stocks, bonds, real estate, and alternative investments. Starting a side business as an added form of investment.

Review and update your insurance

Reviewing and updating your insurance coverage can protect you against unexpected events that could cause financial distress. For example, life insurance can help your loved ones financially if something happens to you. Health insurance can cover medical expenses and protect you from large unexpected bills. Homeowners' or renters' insurance can protect your property and belongings from damage or loss. Regularly reviewing and updating your insurance coverage can ensure that you have adequate protection and that your coverage aligns with your current needs, reducing the financial burden of unexpected events.

Network and build relationships

Building strong relationships with people in your industry or field can lead to new job opportunities, partnerships, and clients. Additionally, networking can give you access to new ideas and perspectives that can help you improve your skills and knowledge. Expanding your professional network increases your chances of finding new opportunities that can benefit you financially. Furthermore, strong relationships with family and friends can provide emotional support and assistance in times of financial hardship.

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