Fall is here and winter is COMING. Now is a great time to slow down and take stock of your entire financial picture and how it’s lining up with your year-end goals. Below are a few ways to check in on your financial health as the holidays approach so you can feel confident heading into the new year.
Check-In #1: Evaluate Current Debt
Write down all debt owed, including credit cards, student loans, mortgages, and car payments. Be sure to also keep track of the minimum payment amounts and due dates. Once you have everything laid out and organized in one place, you can begin focusing on how to minimize or eliminate certain debts, listing them from highest interest rate to lowest. Seeing all your debt in one place is the first step in taking control and minimizing debt by sticking with a consistent payment plan. Evaluate your progress in paying down debt and set new goals for next year.
Check-In #2: Check Your Credit Score & Run Your Credit Report
Can you remember the last time you checked your credit score? If you haven’t given it a good look in a while, now’s the time. Your credit scores can give you a decent overview of how your financial health is doing. They can help make you aware of any potential red flags, such as missed payments, identity theft, or unauthorized use of your credit cards.
Check-In #3: Review Your Budget (Review What You ACTUALLY Spend)
Evaluate your current budget to see if you met your financial goals for the year. Make adjustments for the upcoming year based on your changing circumstances. Review any subscriptions or memberships you have and consider canceling or adjusting as needed. Where are some areas you are overspending and where would you rather allocate those funds?
Check-In #4: Tax Planning
Review any changes in tax laws that may affect your financial situation. Consider making any last-minute tax-deductible donations, tax loss harvesting, or additional adjustments as needed. If you have complex financial situations or uncertainties, consult with a financial planner or tax professional.
Check-In #5: Revisit Your Emergency Savings
With family vacations, weekend trips, and gift giving, holiday spending can cost quite a bit. The temptation to tap into your savings is strong. If you have in the past, you’re not alone. But as we gear up for the holidays, now’s the perfect time to work on filling your savings right back up. If you set a savings goal for the year, do a quick progress report. Have you nearly reached your goal? You may want to challenge yourself to save even more. If you’re nowhere near it, focus on adjusting your spending habits to better support your savings goal.
Check-In #6: Evaluate Your Insurance Coverage
Review your insurance policies (health, life, long term care, disability, auto, home, liability, cybersecurity, etc.) to ensure they still meet your personal and business needs. Make any necessary adjustments. If you're unsure, meet with a financial planner to discuss.
Check-In #7: Review Your Investment Portfolio
Assess your investments and rebalance your portfolio if needed. Consider where you may wish to invest more over the long term, identifying risks and opportunities, tax advantaged account types, as well as current, near term, and future income needs. Consider consulting a financial planner for more complex investment strategies.
Check-In #8: Review & Adjust Your Retirement Contributions
If you contribute to an employer-sponsored retirement fund, such as a 401(k) or 403(b), take some time to check in on your account. This is especially important if you set automatic deposits a year or two ago and haven’t thought about it since. For 2023, the 401(k) contribution limit is $22,500 for those under 50 or $30,000 for those 50 and older. If you’re heading toward retirement and trying to make the most of your employer-sponsored plan, you now have the opportunity to save even more in your account.3
Check-In #9: Organize Financial Documents
Gather and organize important financial documents such as tax records, investment statements, and receipts for deductible expenses. If you plan to make charitable donations, consider doing so before the end of the year to take advantage of tax deductions.
Check-In #10: Organize & Update Estate Documents
Review your will, power of attorney, and other estate planning documents, such as trusts, to ensure they reflect your current wishes. Also take this time to review beneficiaries on any retirement accounts, annuities or insurance policies to make sure they are updated. Tell your executor and trusted loved ones where to find needed documents.
Check-In #11: Revisit Your Goals, Outline New Goals & Seek Professional Advice
Think back on everything that’s happened this year. It’s likely some unexpected events occurred. Life's moments, large and small, can have a significant impact on your financial wellness. Take some time to reflect on your long-term financial goals and whether your current strategies align with them. Revisit the goals you made at the beginning of the year and make sure they are still aligned with your current plans.
Outline your financial goals for the coming year, whether it's saving for a specific purpose, investing, or paying down debt. With a bit of time to prepare, you can enter the new year feeling financially confident and excited for a fresh start. Find some time to reflect, evaluate, adjust and rethink the rest of the year to put yourself in a great position at the start of the new year.
Important 2023 Dates:
- Last day to contribute to charity for a tax deduction
- Last day for 401(k) contributions
- If you're 73 or older in 2023, don't forget to take your annual required minimum distribution (RMD) from your IRA
- If you have investments that have lost value during the year, consider tax-loss harvesting before the end of December
- The deadline for converting funds in retirement and other accounts to a Roth IRA
Questions? Reach out
This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.