Financial Tips, Thanks to the Year of the Pig

Are you a pig? If so, congratulations, you're honest and kind. However, you might also be lazy, impulsive and naive. All of us can improve ourselves and our financial pictures by keeping these pig-inspired tips in mind.

Happy New Year … again! It is now the year of the pig.

According to the Western calendar, Feb. 5, 2019, marks the beginning of the Chinese New Year — also known as “Spring Festival” — the longest and most important celebration for Chinese families across the globe.

People born under the sign of the pig, according to Chinese culture (opens in new tab), are thought to be reliable, honest, energetic and kind. A pig's weaknesses, on the other hand, include laziness, being naive, impulsive and not good at communication. A person can turn around these negatives by working on the challenges they present.

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Whether you are born in the year of the pig (in 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007 and 2019) or not, considering we have just started a new year, now is a good time to think about how to make 2019 the best it can be, both personally and financially. Here are some steps inspired by the strengths and weaknesses associated with the year of the pig that we all could benefit from.

Question things

Learn more about the world so you are less likely to believe in just anything. Take a money-saving course at a local bank or research topics before a purchase, such as applying for a car loan. Hire a financial adviser to give you guidance. Learn to say no if something doesn’t feel right.

Tame the impulse

Be clever and come up with different ways to cut down on other costs. Go to second-hand stores instead of shopping at expensive designer stores. You would be surprised of deals you could find just by looking around. Make your own meals instead of heading to a restaurant. Not only will you save by preparing meals at home, it can be healthier for you in the long run. Redirect your “found” money to your Roth IRA or 401(k) to build wealth for your financial independence.

Be lazy later

Who doesn’t love sitting by a fire on a cold, dreary day? It would be nice to stay home in bed instead of facing the world or at least getting to work on time.

In Chinese culture (opens in new tab), it is important to be on time. A good way to embrace your hidden pig is to make a list of what you want to accomplish and set deadlines. Enough of "I'm too busy" or "I forgot." In financial speak, decide what financial goals you want to accomplish and when you expect them to be done. This makes you accountable for your actions and inactions. Set time each day to relax, this will help ease stress and allow you time to be lazy.

Communicate goals

Pigs have tons of ideas but are easily influenced by others. They also have trouble communicating what they want. In matters of finances, it is less difficult to talk about marital issues or health concerns than it is to talk about money. Even the thought of discussing money with a family member or friend can make your hands go clammy and your heart beat rapidly. When you don’t talk about money matters, it could lead to poor relationships with parents, bosses, colleagues and friends. That can lead to the loss of a well-deserved raise or job.

Don’t live high on the hog

You shouldn’t live beyond your means or “high on the hog.” Pigs are into spending especially on lavish items. They may appear to be bragging, or the person may want to protect their wealth information from being made public. Learn to controlling spending by managing credit, reducing taxes, increasing savings, protecting family and assets, and building wealth for the future. A good suggestion is to start a budget to help control where money goes, such as rent, food, transportation, utilities and gas. Have a savings account to put money aside for a lavish item.

Be responsible

Be honest about your spending habits and views on money. Try to be charitable through impact investing — which is investing with social or environmental goals in mind — or through forging social bonds. Paying bills is not fun, but changing your attitude and being excited about spending goes a long way. Never be scared to ask questions and communicate what you want. Finally, don’t fall into bad habits such as laziness or trying to live beyond your means.

If people rethink their weaknesses, they can turn them into strengths and save money in the process (opens in new tab).

This article was written by and presents the views of our contributing adviser, not the Kiplinger editorial staff. You can check adviser records with the SEC or with FINRA.

Marguerita M. Cheng, CFP®
CEO, Blue Ocean Global Wealth

Marguerita M. Cheng is the Chief Executive Officer at Blue Ocean Global Wealth (opens in new tab). She is a CFP® professional, a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor℠, Retirement Income Certified Professional and a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst. She helps educate the public, policymakers and media about the benefits of competent, ethical financial planning.