A year-end financial checklist to help you start the new year right
(Article courtesy of SAVVYMONEY DAILY. Written by Chris O’Shea.)
The year is almost over, so now is a good time to conduct a year-end financial checkup. Here are some things to review to start the new year on the right foot.
Review Your Budget. Check in with your budget to make sure it aligns with your saving and spending habits. Are your savings setting you up to hit your short and long-term goals? Were there any big life moments — like having a baby, moving, etc. — that happened that would warrant some likewise big changes to the budget?
Check on Your Investments. Ask yourself the following:
- How are you doing with your investments?
- Are you hitting the employee match on your 401(k)? If not, make it a New Year’s goal.
- What about your IRA contributions?
- Is there any way to max those out?
If you can’t contribute the max, consider increasing them yearly. Also, check in on your stocks and bonds. If you’re not happy with how you’re invested, make a change so that the year ahead is an improvement.
“It can be overwhelming and daunting to contribute the maximum amount to your 401(k) or investments. However, it is possible. When I started contributing to my 401(k), I couldn’t afford to contribute the maximum amount. I started with 3% and gradually increased it every year. Whenever I received a raise, I added one percent to my contribution, which didn’t make much of a difference in my paycheck. Eventually, I reached my desired contribution amount without even realizing it.” ~Elizabeth Gray
Decide on Debt. The end of the year is a good time to ensure you have a solid strategy for paying down any debts, particularly high-rate ones. Review your loans and credit cards. Are you making inroads or just treading water? If you are struggling to make progress on your debts, consider trying something new, like a balance transfer credit card.
Update Your Goals. Make sure your saving habits are aligned with your long-term goals. If things are off track, make this the year you get going in the right direction.
Do One Thing: Review your budget at the start of every year and after every major life event.
Italicized portions from Elizabeth Gray.