Another year is winding down. The next is sneaking up on us.
The holidays have a way of distracting us from both our finances and our financial goals.
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. While tracking your finances is a great first step, reviewing what you’ve been tracking is where the big pay off comes.
Based on your data, ask yourself the following questions:
- Did your spending end up like you thought it would?
- Did you spend your money as your values say you should have?
- Did you waste a significant amount of money on thoughtless purchases?
- 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 the answers from these questions to prepare yourself for a better new 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 set your goals for next year. 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.
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 a fiduciary financial advisor that 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.
If you want to enjoy the holidays, go ahead and relax but be ready to kick yourself 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.
Looking back, how was your year this year? What changes are you looking to make next year and what do you want to continue doing well?