The end of the year is a crucial time to assess your financial health and plan for the future. By taking proactive steps now, you can set yourself up for success in the coming year.
From budgeting and retirement planning to tax considerations and estate planning, we will break down each step in detail.
January: Set Your Intentions
The beginning of a new year is an ideal time to set clear financial checklist and establish a budget. Start by prioritizing what you’d like to accomplish, breaking these goals into smaller, manageable steps. Consider using budget management apps or online tools to help you stay organized and on track.
Additionally, review your expenses and look for ways to reduce them, especially in light of higher inflation and market volatility. This may involve making temporary adjustments, such as eating more meals at home.
Lastly, take advantage of the opportunity to make your IRA contribution for the year. By contributing early, you can potentially earn more over the long term.
February: Simplify Your Investments
Use February as an opportunity to streamline your investment portfolio. Evaluate factors such as tax benefits, investment choices, and costs to determine the best course of action for your situation.
Additionally, explore asset allocation options that provide a diversified portfolio in a single investment. These options are often rebalanced regularly, ensuring that your investments align with your risk tolerance and goals.
Lastly, automate your investing by contributing a set amount regularly to a tax-advantaged or taxable investment account.
March: Prepare for Tax Time
As tax season approaches, it’s essential to get organized and prepared. Gather all the necessary forms and records from the previous year. Once you have everything in order, file your taxes as soon as you’re ready.
April: Improve Your Financial Standing
In April, take the time to review your credit report and address any issues. You can access one free report from each major credit bureau per year.
By checking your credit report, you can ensure that there are no errors or discrepancies that could negatively impact your financial standing. Additionally, assess your debt and prioritize repayment. Start by targeting high-interest debt, such as credit card balances, to minimize interest payments.
May: Focus on Education
May is an opportune time to focus on education-related financial planning. If you have children or grandchildren, consider opening a account to save for their future education expenses.
Additionally, take the time to educate the children in your life about finances. Encourage them to become regular savers and conscientious spenders.
Lastly, continue your own financial education by exploring books, podcasts, or blogs that cover financial topics of interest.
June: Do a Midyear Checkup
As we reach the midpoint of the year, it’s crucial to evaluate your financial progress and make any necessary adjustments. Start by reviewing your budget and tracking your expenses. Are you sticking to your targets? If not, consider adjusting your budget to align with your current circumstances.
Next, assess your asset allocation and ensure that it aligns with your risk tolerance and investment time horizon. Finally, take a holistic approach to your investment portfolio as a household. This will help identify any unintended overlap and ensure that you’re on track to meet your financial goals.
July: Invest in Yourself
In July, shift your focus to investing in yourself and securing your financial outlook. Consider opportunities for career development, updating your resume, and enhancing your networking skills. By investing in your career prospects, you can potentially increase your income and financial stability.
Additionally, practice mindful spending by pausing before making any non-essential purchases. Waiting a self-assigned period, such as 30 days, can help ensure that you genuinely want the item and that it aligns with your overall financial goals.
August: Reassess Your Choices
August is an ideal time to reassess your insurance coverage and subscriptions. Review your insurance policies, including life, health, disability, liability, auto, and property. Ensure that you have adequate coverage and consider adjusting deductibles if necessary.
Additionally, evaluate your subscriptions and memberships. Are you fully utilizing them? If not, consider canceling or downgrading to save money. By reassessing your choices in these areas, you can optimize your financial resources and potentially reduce unnecessary expenses.
September: Give Back
September is a month to focus on giving back and making charitable contributions. Consider different ways to contribute either be donation or volunteering.
October: Be Vigilant With Cybersecurity
Protecting your financial information and online security is crucial in today’s digital world. In October, prioritize cybersecurity by taking steps to safeguard your passwords. Ensure that your passwords are strong, using a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
Avoid using common words or phrases that can be easily guessed. Additionally, be cautious of unsolicited emails and messages related to financial matters. Verify the legitimacy of any emails by checking the URL and refrain from providing personal or account information to unexpected callers. If you encounter cybercrime, report it immediately to the appropriate authorities.
November: Focus on Family Matters
November is a time to focus on family matters and ensure that your financial plans align with your loved ones’ futures. Start by having open and honest conversations with your adult children about money. Discuss your plans and how they may impact their financial well-being.
December: Prioritize Your Retirement
As the year comes to a close, prioritize your retirement planning. Aim to save at least 15% of your salary, including any employer contributions, across your retirement accounts. Take advantage of any employer-sponsored retirement plans, and maximize your contributions.
Additionally, consider seeking guidance from a financial professional to review your overall financial situation and make any necessary adjustments for the upcoming year.