A Time To Build...


Wow we made it through yet another year!!! 2018 was not for the faint at heart, so many hard trials and tests for many in my circle. It was also one full of divine connections and new relationships. There was so much that seemed to be lost but I know it was simply lessons.

At the top of every year I give a summation of what I believe God wants me to share with my tribe, mentees, family and friends. To recap at the top of 2018 he gave us the 4 M’s, which were so powerful that I incorporated them in the revisions of my Brand To Bucks book. They were:

·      Magnetism – Ability to attract your customers

·      Money Flow – Ability to fund your vision

·      Man Power – Ability to build a team for your vision and discern divine connections

·      Mental Strength – Ability to mentally handle stress and success

This M-Factor is what we all need to consider before embarking on our entrepreneurial journeys. The Brand to Bucks book is full of how to’s, check lists, and thought provoking questions all designed to help us build! With that being said that is exactly what I believe 2019 will be about…


All the information we have acquired from coaching sessions, courses we invested in, events we have attended, are ready to be put to use. For some of us it’s for a second, third or tenth time within our current businesses and for others for the first time in a totally new venture. There is no way we can see change in our lives and communities if we do not continue to build.

Dreaming costs nothing but building will cost you EVERYTHING! If you are not feeling the pressure or the pain that comes from building you are still merely dreaming! There are several things every visionary needs around them but it starts with a builder. Someone who can understand your vision and help you execute to bring it into reality! Identifying your builders can be a great point of frustration for many visionaries but it is the very thing that will hinder your next level of manifestation within your business and life if not discovered.

 I have continued to build 6-figure income businesses consistently because of several reasons, but most important being a prayer life! God is a strategist, a master builder so it’s safe to say I have learned from the best. He continues to put me in tough situations where I am forced to learn to trust the principles He wanted me to understand and then turn around a teach others.

In the scriptures we can pull from many stories of men that were great at building out their God given visions (Ex 31: 1-3) and those that were flat out destructive and did things that were counter-productive to God’s plans and visions. The reward was either blessings or curses based on their obedience.

The ability to build was so important to God that even in the life of Jesus, who was born with all wisdom, grace and power, He too had to undergo great training before He could walk into the fullness of His purpose. There was a moment in his teenage life where his knowledge and revelation of the scriptures far outweighed his emotional maturity and timing. In fact, after being rebuked for running off to the synagogue without his parents awareness we no longer hear anything further about His life until He is older and known not as the Christ but the Carpenter.

The young man that was born to the Virgin Mary, was the person that used His hands to build homes, furniture and fixtures. I imagine He was all so familiar with various tree barks, diverse materials, metals and nails… God saw it best suitable for Jesus to first learn how to fix inanimate objects that brought normalcy and comfort to people before taking on the task of fixing their lives! He became familiar with families as He worked in their homes, I am sure He knew all the tea! He grew in compassion as He saw the issues people would face on a day to day basis. The things He may not have had exposure to had He remained confined to the synagogues became the fuel to the fire that was already in Him.

God often times provides us with temporal tasks and purpose producing practices to teach us ancient and eternal principles. Jesus had to learn to build a business before He could build a ministry!

The truth is anyone can consult but very few know how to construct. Once the time came for Jesus to lay down His “solopreneur” career He needed a team. There were things His long yet temporary career taught Him about people and their character. He immediately looked for men that were a fit for His new assignment. He not only chose them but they chose Him!

Over the last 20 years of building I have come to realize there are 5 people you can never build with successfully:

1.     You cannot build with someone that wants your position. Secure individuals are stable and content with themselves. These individuals will always look for a way to compliment you verses compete with you. They will always select positions that are mutually beneficial in more than one way. They see the value in positions that provide self -development, quality relationships, wisdom and financial increase. Insecure people covet your position and will get close to you merely to replace you. They will look to duplicate some of your mannerisms, characteristics to draw attention to themselves to try to prove to those in the team that they are better than you. They live in a constant state of comparison, they are tormented by thoughts of who or what they are not, verses falling in love with who they are.

2.     You cannot build with someone that is not skilled and trained. When natural talent is met with training, a master is born. Look for people that are gifted yet disciplined enough to undergo a time of study and development. These individuals “never arrive” but are always looking to improve.

3.     You cannot build with someone who lacks integrity and wisdom. Transparency and truth allow for proper adjustments and growth. When someone moves in deceit and manipulation, it will always bring confusion and drama. Building is hard enough when done in the light, imagine building in the dark, it is impossible.

4.     You cannot build with someone who is lazy, pessimistic and emotionally unstable. These individuals will shoot down ideas before they are even mentioned. They fear the unknown and hate doing anything that takes them out of their comfort zone. Change is their nemesis and they are only comfortable with what they can control. These individuals are cancerous to the team and look to join forces with those that can be convinced during a time of weakness to agree with them. The best way to handle this individual is accountability, create an environment that is solution based. Where if there is a just complaint or issue, they are expected to research and provide solutions.

5.     You cannot build with someone who doesn’t understand “it takes a team”. We cannot build alone. Look for individuals that thrive in team settings. They see the value in the maintenance crew, in the mail clerk, the receptionist, etc. They understand inter-dependence will bring greater results. This individual will have more patience and take the time to understand their teammates perspective and gain insight on what motivates he/she. This individual makes a great leader verses a manager. They will not only maintain systems created by the visionary but they will understand how to build on them. He or she has a keen eye on how to pair tasks with the persons that will bring impactful results beneficial for the individual, the team and the company as a whole.

Take your time… look for your builders and keep in mind those laws of attraction. Work on the builder in YOU! As you expand your capacity to build, you will learn what it takes and begin to clearly understand what your vision needs. As you build it they will come!

Build wisely! 2019 is our time to build CEO Chicks! 

Coleen Otero

5 Ways To Finish Strong


1.  Change Your Old Habits- You must end those stubborn habits that cause us to delay our future goals. Once we know and recognize these habits, it’s time to get rid of them press forward to reach your maximum goals. What do old habits consist of? 

·      Being Lazy- putting off assignments to another day.

·      Procrastination- waiting until the last minute to complete a task.

·      Commitment- putting in the work daily. Your customers and your followers know a schedule of when you are delivering something.

·      Time Management- wasting time doing things that do not generate money.

·      Not being proactive- don’t wait for things to unfold take action before it happens.

·      Not being Dependable- can people count on you to show up be on time, keep your promises and commitments?

2.   Set Realistic Goals – Everyone at some point feels like they are super heroes but in real life we are human. We cannot do everything at once but we can check off the little things on our lists to reach our ultimate goal.

·      Write down small achievable goals that can be accomplished such as emails, phone calls, research, keeping your social media pages up to date, set up websites, open online stores, etc.…

·      Check off your list as you complete your tasks. They may seem small but when you look back and see how much you have accomplished, those small things tend to add up and get the job done.

·      What marketing strategies that you can you get done by yourself? Have you visited Vistaprint, to make sure you order supplies and marketing accessories for you business?

·      Where do you see your business in 3 months vs. 3 years?

·      Have you researched your competitors?

·      Set daily and weekly tasks vs. monthly and yearly until you master the basics.


3.  Financial Checkup-   To finish strong, you have to know what is making sense in your business. Are you paying out more than you are taking in?

·      Are you hitting the money target for your business or is it costing more for you to be in business (net income, cash flow, gross, sales, profit, inventory, etc).

·      Are you overspending just because the money is there?

·  Get with a bank or a business consultant to make sure you are properly deviating monies where it should go.

4.  Evaluate Your Process - Make sure everything you have planned is going accordingly.

·      Communication

·      Emails

·      Phone Calls

·      Social Media

·      Proper Links to websites

·      Ordering Process

·      Tax Filing/Receipts


5. Update Your Creativity- Never stay in a comfortable place. Social media is forever evolving and so should your business. Find ways to make your business stand out and draw attention. How?

·    Stay current with the latest apps

·    Find out what competitors are doing and add your own twist to it.

·    Update websites and social media platforms

·    Stay up to date with trends and current issues you can relate back to your business.

·    Find meaty content to post.

·    Add music and excitement to your LIVES.

·    Repurpose Existing Content

·    Build Foundation not just followers

·    Stay Active

·    Pay attention to your insights on your platforms

Let’s finish this year off with a bang CEO Chicks. We all have dreams and aspirations and most importantly goals that we want to achieve. Now that we know better, let’s get this Shmoney. No CEO left behind. Why not finish strong by joining us for The Boardroom Bootcamp in Chicago on December 1st!

Members see our VIP FaceBook Group for your discount code and NON Members you can now use CHICAGO30 for $30.00 off registration for a limited time only! Grab your seat in the boardroom NOW!

Coach Donna


So it’s October and guess what? Your NEW YEAR BEGINS NOW! For many that follow me, you know 2018 kicked off with a drastic shift for me. I STOPPED DOING HAIR! I have been behind the chair all my life, my official career began after completing Beauty School in 1997. TWENTY YEARS OF SERVING CLIENTS AND HALF OF MY INCOME ALL CAME TO A HALT BUT IT WAS FOR A GREATER CAUSE!

I had so many goals to complete 2018, it required a different part of me, one that did not come so naturally. I had to stop to START! Talk about a faith walk! Some of the goals that I set out to complete were to:

  1. Tour with The Network

  2. Finish and Release My First Book

  3. Turn 40 in Europe

  4. Connect with more Influencers

  5. Start Boxing Classes

  6. Eat Healthier

  7. Help develop 10-15 New Brands


The lists goes on and on! I SMASHED EVERY GOAL AND NOW I AM IN BURN OUT MODE! I know you may be thinking “Burn Out”, what, why? It’s a term used in Boxing when we feel like we want to quit, rather than stop we do the opposite. We push our body to go as hard as we can, we punch the heck out of that bag until the bell goes DING and this is what I want you to do! GIVE IT ALL YOU GOT!

This is not the time for you to quit but it’s time to BURN OUT!

AS WE ARE CLOSING OUT 2018 IT IS TIME TO SHIFT SOME TASKS TO YOUR COMPLETION LIST! This entire month my Coaching Team is focused on closing out the year strong! Finishing ON TOP! We are already planning 2019 both individually and corporately. What does that look like, what does that sound like?

  •  Writing a Book

  • Hiring or Firing a Staff Member

  • Incorporating New Technology

  • Lose 20 pounds

  • Get Coaching

Whatever it is, A PLAN IS NEEDED! Sometimes the ideas we have are so big and huge that we either do not know where to start or we just run toward it without a plan in mind. I am such a creative and my ideas are always over the moon big. Here are a few things that I do to do my best to achieving my goals:

Give It A Name

Give your idea a name. Think of titles for your product, service or event. Think of the attributes of the idea and brainstorm on a name that encompasses that.

Smash Your Idea

I break down my ideas kind of like a I did my reports in communication arts course in school. I jot down the overall idea and then underneath I get in to the details of… Who, What, When, Where and Why???


Give Your Idea A Language

Next I think about my idea as a persona. I think about, what would it say if it spoke? What sounds would it make? Who does it appeal to?

Create A Marketing Strategy For Your Idea

Based on my ideas persona and my target audience, I come up with a marketing plan which includes the language, the look, the feel of my idea.

Create a Budget To Each Area Of Your Idea

Next to each aspect of your idea you must attach the cost, whether that is tools, the time, the speakers, the location, the marketing…get as close as you can and double it. When I first got started I would always focus on breaking even and that is exactly what I did, but the goal is to create a profit!!

Write A Timeline To Your Idea

Put your idea to a time line and stick to it… be sure to add room for error! Trust me when you set your mind on a goal it’s like all hell will rise up to oppose your idea! You must prove to yourself and to your idea that you are worthy of being the one to carry it out!

Have Fun

Lastly, HAVE FUN! Enjoy the journey! Take it in, celebrate your small wins. Take time to do nothing! Resting your body and brain will help to increase your creativity.

Take this info and apply it to your next big idea! Add to it, take it further… whatever you do keep me in the loop! Feel free to email me to book a session at info@ceochicksonline.com This is your winning season! Go Dominate!

Building Your Business By FAITH!


We hear the saying all the time, "show me your top five friends and I can tell you who you are." In my case it’s more like top 4! LOL! In any event we are a reflection of our circle. Those we share our concepts, dreams, and little secrets with are the same ones we can look to as a compass of where we are in life. One of my sisters in the faith will often say when your circle shifts or changes it’s a sign that God is ready to shift your life in a new direction.

As women in business and/or ministry we understand that whatever we “label” our work, as believers, it  is ALL a service to God. We understand that as we are walking in purpose there are those that God has assigned to our lives just as well as those the enemy has assigned. With that being said, how do you know who is who? How do you discern who is for you vs. who is against you? How do you know who is in your circle for a season or for life? Let’s talk about it!

The Bible says we are to “know those that labor among us”. ( 1Thess 5:12) The word “know” in Hebrew translates to “yada”, it means to be intimate with, to understand and experience. How many people around us do we know on such an intimate level? Before you can know or judge someone’s intent you have to spend time with them. As believers in the market place we have to develop our gift of discernment and that is not based on our feelings, filters or hear say… it is based on the ability to judge ones’ actions according to the word of God. So basically if you lack bible you lack discernment.

As we are building relationships, we will encounter peoples’ flaws, strengths, personalities, etc. We will learn their language, their mannerisms, their moral beliefs, skill sets and more. We all have proclivities built in our natural man that we have to work on daily that does not mean we diabolical, it merely means we are human and posses’ a soul (mind, will and intellect). This will help you to mature to a place as a believer to realize everyone is not sent by the devil! They just have issues like you do! Some are more committed to working on their way of thinking and being then others and it simply shows. I said all that to say, do not be so quick to cut people off because of their areas of weakness but use wisdom in where you position them in your life and heart.

In relation to business we have to be able to assess their ability to complete tasks regardless of their flaws. It is our job as business owners and team builders to properly place people in their areas of strength, where they can shine and perform at their highest level while providing the tools to equip them in areas of weakness. Start people off with lighter tasks of low level importance before graduating them to more. I meet so many people that do not know themselves enough… they’re uncertain of what they are good at vs. not so good at. They convince you they are excellent at this or a Guru at that only to find out otherwise.

Getting to know someone takes time and research but at the end of it all you will have enough truth and experience to avoid being deceived. You will shorten the time span of which you invest in this process and dodge “pretenders” quicker!  If you were like me the phonies made you want to retreat to a island somewhere with wifi only. You don’ t want to even put effort into knowing people AT ALL! Your resort to saying like, “Nobody can go with me to the next level” or “It’s lonely at the top!” But that is a thought process of the hurt and dysfunctional.  Even Jesus had a circle of trusted disciples! I had to realize while moments of isolation are inevitable it is temporary.

Living like an island to myself would rob me of healthy, loving relationships. It is so important to become more relational vs. transactional. What does that mean? When we put more emphasis in getting to know someone we build a genuine connection that will lead to loyalty and long term business dealings. Whereas when you do not care to know someone you will move in and out at a blink of an eye, treat people automatically as time wasters and risk missing the opportunity of a life time.

As Believers in Business it is vital that we are one with Gods word and Spirit. Fully aware of our heart condition, our motives and intent. This will help us to sharpen our discernment. We won’t be so quick to assume because someone is sweet toward us that they are kind hearted. Some of the sweetest people I have met were gossipers, their name was constantly at the root of discord and confusion, they were pros at sabotaging projects (they would take on the more important parts of a project and drop the ball), they were shady and flat out messy. On the flip side I have met some of the most quiet, dry, and somewhat abrasive individuals who were AMAZING! They kept their word, proactive, went the extra mile on tasks, displayed integrity all while lacking in the warm and fuzzy department.

Which would you want on your team?! Perhaps both! Messy Megan can work in a position that required less important task, a greeter, customer service, she can work a script of some sort, answer phones. Meanwhile Dry Debra can work operations, she can keep up with dead line driven goals and hold team members accountable. Both women with the will and right leadership development can find a suitable position and grow with the company.  

On a practical note, I can recall over a year ago, when we had an amazing CEO Chick Conference Call with two individuals I love and respect dearly. I asked them what are some of the ways they build their winning teams. And my Life Coach, Junice Rockman said she uses gift assessments. Her means of discovering who people are lie in a series of questions that will determine whether they are Visionaries, Strategists, or Tacticians. The Visionary has ideas for days but no real plan of execution. The Strategist can plan from A- Z and pays close attention to detail. Lastly, is the Tactician, they are great at managing what the Visionary and Strategist have put in place. Good right?! Our next guest, Celebrity MUA Kym Lee said she had a list of various things she looks for when considering hiring someone for her team. She gives them on the job training and will check for the following:

  1. Timeliness
  2. Work Ethics and Skills (Getting the job done efficiently)
  3. Effort and Quick thinking (Being proactive)
  4. Body Language
  5. Energy and Attitude
  6. Passion and Servitude (Going the extra mile)
  7. Coachable (Open to constructive feed back)
  8. Prepared (Equip with proper tools to do the job)

All in all we are to never give up hope! Our dream team is not a myth but it is does exist!  As we continue to grow and mature in our leadership abilities we will begin to attract those that are a reflection of who we are and build people up that possess the desire for growth. We must be clear with our vision so others can comprehend our wants and desires. Write the vision and make it plain (Hab 2:2)! Be ok with going through the process of elimination, people will come, people may go but the right ones will stay! Focus your attention on the committed and build with them! I am looking forward to your success! If this information was good to your soul please share it with someone and be sure to connect with us on IG or FB at @ceochicks.

Until next time…get over it, that’s right fly HIGH and get above the noise! Much Love,

Coleen Otero

CEO Chick Founder

CEO of YourBeautyXpert, LLC.


Lead Yourself


As I am sitting here praying for you all and your businesses so many different emotions and thoughts began to run through my mind and spirit. I know some of your stories and others I do not. But I know what it takes to be a woman, a wife, a mother, a daughter in business. The highs and lows of life are so real. Sometimes business is booming and sometimes it flat lines. At times our relationships are easy and others they are challenging. Some days our bodies feel up to it, other days we feel like we were run over by a truck!

Life happens to us all and pressure is applied to us ALL. But the difference is how we handle it. Some quit at every test, some keep going while lashing out at everyone around them. Then a few press through and fight to be consistent, constantly checking their own heart, and thoughts. Being careful with their words, managing their time, constantly aware of what comes out of them when the pressure is applied. Success ladies is a two edged sword, it comes with more challenges, more influence, and more problems to solve. It comes with more risks and more rewards. The ability to lead others is more about leading yourself (remember that). It means being vulnerable, transparent, selfless, a student, discipline, a good listener, note taker, slow to speak, caring, balanced, giving, no nonsense, wise and more! What draws people to you and your business is your ability to lead yourSELF.

So I say all this to say, so many will go crazy looking outwardly for what they need to fill voids in their business and in life. The get all worked up and anxious about what it is they want to see happen, their expectations for others are higher than they are for themselves. They jump from networking group to networking group looking for "divine connections". Their mindset is always, "What can I get? What's in it for me?" They always complain about people wanting to use them and manipulate them. They have a hard time trusting people so they don’t take the time to slow down and get to know anyone. But if they come across someone they think fits the criteria to get them closer to their goals they instantly connect! They open up their life to people that seemingly have what they want. They gamble with their their purpose and destiny and end up disappointed when they don’t get the results they hoped for. Soon after they disconnect bitter and upset, but carelessly they go on the hunt again…looking for their next “divine connection” yet again. Looking, knocking, searching for the key to their success. The cycle is endless, tiring, time consuming, costly, draining and frustrating.

I know the cycle! I witnessed it firsthand! I have had the privilege of being around many successful leaders, some displayed great characteristics and others not so great. I learned from them all, what to do, what not to do. All in all the goal is to be a servant leader Leading yourself means:

  • To live a balanced life (meditation time/ family time/ work time / fun time)
  • To give from a place of abundance (time/ your gifts/ your money)
  • Focus on increasing your value (self-improvement/ self-care)
  • Pour into the lives of others (1on1, small groups, masses)
  • Read, read, read
  • Network, travel, make room to live and enjoy life
  • Be grateful, practice being thankful

I am sure you can add to this list, when I took my mind off money and placed on serving others, solving problems with my gifts…resources came. When you make money an issue, it becomes just that! When you focus on meeting the needs of others and you make an impact in their lives it makes you VALUABLE. I NEVER PRAY FOR MONEY! I ASK FOR WISDOM ON WHAT TO DO WITH WHAT I HAVE AND THAT IS NOT LIMITED TO MONEY!! I need wisdom in area of my life and so do you, pray for wisdom in:

  • Marriage & Family/ Relationships/ Churches
  • Health & Finances
  • Business

This is how we live, we seek first the kingdom! It’s in  him we live, move and have our being! If this helped you please let us know, tag us on FB, email us, let us know this information is beneficial to you. We are praying for your success!

Coach Coleen

Get Results from Social Media


Social Media is a FREE marketing tool that anyone can use for his or her business. Every platform that one encounters has stats. The question is, “What are you doing with your stats”? We have vital information that we tend to overlook that can be very important to our posting strategies.  Here are a few questions to ask yourself especially if you are not getting the response, views, or feedback that you intended to get.

  • Am I posting on the days when most of my followers are on?
  • Am I responded back to my followers?
  • Did I post at a time where I have the lowest engagement?
  • Have I reviewed my top posts to see what my followers like?
  • Am I consistent?
  • Do I have great content or just posts?
  • Have I set goals for my page?
  • How many people am I reaching in a week?
  • How many followers am I gaining monthly?
  • Did I  collaborate with anyone?

These are some questions that you might want to revisit if you are not getting the results that you need. All of your stats can be found in your settings. For Instagram, you should have your page set up as a business page and the icons will be located at the top of the screen. Please take the time to see what your stats are saying about your page. You can gain so much by comparing your stats each month.

There are so many online resources and tools for us to use to improve our social media strategy.  Book a coaching session with me by emailing info@ceochicksonline.com and lets dive in to your account together. If this write up helped you let us know, tag us on FB or IG, write a review on our fan page. See on our Monday Calls!

Click here to get information about Monday calls.

CEO Chick Coach
Donna Moody

10 Common Mistakes That Can Kill Your Brand

10 common mistakes that can kill your brand

There are some things that many businesses unintentionally do which then lead them to failure in marketing. Such things can result to death of their brand. You might be doing these things with your business as well. Here, you’ve got a list of common mistakes that can kill your brand:

  1. Inconsistent company identity – A company should use the same business logo, name and tag line in each contact in and out of the business. The way phone calls are answered is very important and customers should hear the same things from you and that you have to be consistent when it comes to giving information to them. Consistent means to go wide together with your efforts. Branding cannot be achieved when you prefer to use just one or two advertising avenues in order to get the message out.
  2. Poor and weak visuals – When you like the name of your company to pop in the mind of people, you should pay more attention to having more photos instead of words. There must be a consistent visual image and logo representing your business. Come up with a powerful and influential visual image of your company and make it popular.
  3. Not training employees – Think about your employees as potentially talking and walking billboards. Pump up them about the company’s name, the logo and its tag line. Train them all to become community ambassadors for your advertising campaign. Do not hesitate to give them a reward when you see them doing fine.
  4. Failure to track the branding efforts – Each time that somebody calls your business, the person on the other line must gently explain how they came to call the company. Record the responses and then have a master list. The data you have gathered must direct future marketing.
  5. Not using current clients and consumers for branding – The greatest advertising tool within your arsenal is the word of mouth advertising. You should ask your current clients and customers whether they would join you when it comes to getting the word out and conveying the right message. You can ask for their points of views regarding your ads and seminars. You can also ask them what they think is the greatest strength of your company and ask them when you could quote them in an ad or brochure.
  6. Letting advertising materials get out-of-date – A lot of businesses make this mistake yet this is specifically true in the case of small businesses. The problem starts when they choose to have a brochure for the company and pay for the design. After that, they order thousands of copies that it takes years and years for them to use up. They feel sorry for the expenses they have made previously so they were not willing to get another brochure until such time that all copies of the old brochure were used.
  7. Failure to focus their branding on their core service – To make branding successful, you have to identify the core service or product of your company and have the marketing effort focused on it.
  8. Not having a believable tag line – Your tag line should match the fact for your consumers so they will believe in it.
  9. Failure to grab the public with your tag line – A great tag line is typically made of 3 to 6 believable words which match the core service and with such great appeal.
  10. Unaware where effective branding begins – You should keep in mind that successful and effective branding begins within your company. Start with in! Create a culture, the experience and allow your brand to take shape from there!

To obtain success with your branding efforts, you should avoid these things and start making moves in the right direction! When I sit with my clients we walk thru all the areas pertaining to building their brand...As I always say building your brand should be your mission and not a mistake! If you are ready to take your brand to the next level, click here check our premium membership services.

It's Not Too Late for These Resolutions

financial book

What were your new years resolutions at the beginning of 2018? Was it to study a new language, take up a musical instrument or visit the gym more often? All these are worthy goals, of course, but did you include some financial resolutions?  

Here are some ideas to think about:

  • Increase contributions to your employer-sponsored retirement plan. For 2018, you can contribute up to $18,500 (or $24,500 if you’re 50 or older) to your 401(k) or similar plan, such as a 403(b), for employees of public schools and some nonprofit groups, or a 457(b) plan, for employees of local governments. It’s usually a good idea to contribute as much as you can afford to your employer’s plan, as your contributions may lower your taxable income, while your earnings can grow tax-deferred. At a minimum, put in enough to earn your employer’s matching contribution, if one is offered.
  • Try to “max out” on your IRA. Even if you have a 401(k) or similar plan, you can probably still invest in an IRA. For 2018, you can contribute up to $5,500 to a traditional or Roth IRA, or $6,500 if you’re 50 or older. (Income restrictions apply to Roth IRAs.) Contributions to a traditional IRA may be tax-deductible, depending on your income, and your earnings can grow tax-deferred. Roth IRA contributions are not deductible, but earnings can grow tax-free, provided you don’t start taking withdrawals until you are 59-1/2 and you’ve have had your account at least five years. You can put virtually any investment in an IRA, so it can expand your options beyond those offered in your 401(k) or similar plan.
  • Build an emergency fund. Try to build an emergency fund containing three to six months’ worth of living expenses, with the money held in a low-risk, liquid account. This fund can help you avoid dipping into your long-term investments to pay for unexpected costs, such as a new furnace or a major car repair.
  • Control your debts. It’s never easy, but do what you can to keep your debts under control. The less you have to spend on debt payments, the more you can invest for your future.
  • Don’t overreact to changes in the financial markets. We’ve had a long run of rising stock prices – but it won’t last forever. If we experience a sharp market downturn in 2018, don’t overreact by taking a “time out” from investing. Market drops are a normal feature of the investment landscape, and you may ultimately gain an advantage by buying new shares when their prices are down.
  • Review your goals and risk tolerance. At least once in 2018, take some time to review your short- and long-term financial goals and try to determine, possibly with the help of a financial professional, if your investment portfolio is still appropriate for these goals. At the same time,
    you’ll want to re-evaluate your risk tolerance to ensure you’re not taking too much risk – or possibly too little risk – with your investments.

    Do your best to stick with these resolutions throughout the coming year. At a minimum, they  can help you improve your investment habits – and they may improve your financial picture far beyond 2018.