Home Living Financial Checklist for the New Year

Financial Checklist for the New Year

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The changing calendar presents an opportunity to reflect, adjust, and begin again in the direction of your goals. Consider completing this checklist to ensure your financial outlook is as bright as it can be in the New Year.

Review income and expenses

Has your income changed over the past year? Did you experience any unexpected expenses? Inflation has made an impact on most households; look back to identify where your bank balance was most affected. If your spending has strayed from past financial goals, the New Year is a good time to reset and start fresh. Tally subscriptions and end non-essential or low priority services. Isolate problem areas and set realistic targets going forward.

Review your investments

Market conditions from the past year may have affected your investment portfolio. Are you still satisfied with the amount and diversity of your holdings? Schedule an annual review with your financial advisor to gain personalized recommendations on your investment strategy. This meeting is also an appropriate time to discuss other areas of your financial life and determine if your risk tolerance, time horizon, or goals have changed. 

Confirm beneficiary designations

It is important to ensure all your beneficiary designations are correct. When you die, assets without designations are placed into probate, which means the court determines the recipient according to inheritance laws. The process can be slow and costly. A life event such as marriage, divorce, adoption, or birth of a child can affect your beneficiary designations. If any notable events happened in the last year, now can be a great time to confirm your beneficiaries are still accurate. 

Evaluate insurance coverage

Insurance can help protect the financial security of your family when things don’t go as planned. Home, life, medical, auto, disability — all of these coverages can help restore the financial impact of an unexpected event. Conversely, the lack of these coverages can leave you financially vulnerable. Talk to your financial advisor about insurance plans that allow you to build resources for the future.

Prepare for tax time

Gather documents you’ll need to complete your taxes. Account for all earnings, including realized capital gains. Itemize deductions, if applicable. If you expect a tax refund, the sooner you file, the better, as it allows you to invest your return if you wish. If you anticipate a tax bill, plan now for the disbursement.

Evaluate short-term and long-term financial goals

Vacations, weddings, welcoming a child, home improvements, a new car, retirement — many of the things that enrich our lives also come with a price tag. Be sure you’re on track with plans that require financial commitment.

This checklist is a great place to start to ensure your financial priorities are set for the upcoming year. Working with a seasoned financial advisor can help you determine if your financial goals have changed over the last year and develop a plan to ensure you feel confident for the new year to come. 

Ellie Tobin Stubbs, CFP ®, AWMA SM, BFATM is a financial advisor with Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. in Barre, Vt. Ellie specializes in fee-based financial planning and asset management strategies and has been in practice for 22 years. To contact her, ameripriseadvisors.com/ellie.stubbs. 802-622-8060.