Another year is winding down and the next is sneaking up on us.
The holidays have a way of distracting us from both our finances and our financial goals, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Take an hour or two before December 31st to set yourself up for a successful new year.
Here are a few things you can do to put yourself in a great position for next year.
Review Your Finances From This Year
Hopefully you’ve been tracking your finances this year. If you haven’t, here’s a great piece to help you get started for next year.
Simply tracking your finances is a great first step, but reviewing what you’ve been tracking is where the big pay off comes.
Based on your data, did your spending end up like you thought it would? Did you spend your money as your values say you should have? Or did you waste money on thoughtless purchases?
If what you value and what you spent your money on don’t line up, you have something to work on for next year.
How did you do versus your financial goals for this past year? What went right? What went wrong? How can you fix problems and continue successes next year? Use your financial tracking data to help answer these questions and prepare yourself for next year.
Set Goals For Next Year
Regardless of whether last year was a good year or a bad year, next year can be awesome. What do you want to happen in the coming year? Do you want to pay off your credit cards or your student loan debt? Do you want to start investing for your retirement?
Now is your chance to put those goals out there. Write them down somewhere you will see them every day. Announce your goals for next year on social media. Tell your family and tell your friends so you’ll be held accountable next year.
Raise Your Retirement Contributions
Sadly, the vast majority of people aren’t saving enough for retirement. If you’re one of the few that are saving enough, you probably know who you are.
If you aren’t sure if you’re saving enough money for retirement or not, go ahead and increase your retirement contribution rate for next year. Even better, you can figure out where you are compared to where you should be for retirement. If you can’t figure it out yourself, find someone who can help you.
Anything Missing In Your Financial Plan?
Now is the perfect time to find any holes in your financial plan. Do have life insurance if you need it? Do you have a will? Have you checked your beneficiaries on your bank accounts, retirement accounts and investment accounts? These are all extremely boring and dull things, but they’re very important.
If you’re missing anything in your financial plan or you know you’ve been putting off a particular financial task, either try to tackle it today or schedule a very specific time to take care of it. If you schedule it, you absolutely cannot put it off after the scheduled time.
Get A Head Start Or Start On January 1st
If you want to get ahead of the game, go ahead and get started on next year’s goals today. Alternatively, if you want to enjoy the holidays, go ahead and relax but kick it into gear on January 1st.
Just don’t use the holidays as an excuse to get in just a few last financial missteps. You’ll regret it.