Planning for Next Year
Article written by Scott M Kahan in Stroll Chappaqua - November 2022 Magazine
As we get closer to year-end and the holiday season, now is a great time to start planning for next year. People use a variety of apps and tools to help themselves get organized for just about anything. Some apps allow you to track your steps and health and strive toward fitness goals. The most common calendar apps help you track meetings, appointments, and upcoming vacations. Why not consider a personal financial calendar to get you organized in the coming year?
1. FAMILIARIZE YOURSELFWITH YOUR CURRENT FINANCIAL HEALTH
You can't set a personal financial calendar unless you understand your current financial situation. Are you spending more than you bring in each month, or do you have a glut of excess money each month? It's vital to take a few minutes to look at your current standing, set goals for the future, and prioritize those goals. You may want to start your financial calendar by creating an emergency fund, starting a 529 college savings plan, or increasing your 40l(k) contributions.
2. CREATE A LIST OF FINANCIAL TASKS AND PROJECTS
This might be the longest and most complex part of developing your financial calendar. In the previous step, you may very well have highlighted several important goals for your future, and now is the time to ensure you undertake the tasks and projects that will help you achieve those goals. There are many places to start, but the first task is to get organized. Many apps can help with this, or maybe just pen and paperwork best for you. But getting ahead for the coming year will set you up for success. Consider spending wisely to increase savings and focus on your retirement accounts and college funding goals.
Also, remember to keep a close eye on payment deadlines for loans with specific due dates so you don't rack up interest charges or ding your credit.
3. REVIEWYOUR CHECKLIST
Establishing a financial calendar and a checklist of tasks to help you achieve your financial goals is great. Still, it's useless if you don't track your progress and repeatedly review the list to ensure you follow your guidelines. Devote time once a week to checking your tasks for completed efforts and adding new ones if necessary.
4.TRACK FOR THE LONG RUN
Once a month, you should assess what you have accomplished on your financial calendar and what remains to be done. While at it, get out your budget worksheet and compare your budget with your financial calendar. Are there tasks and goals that could or should be done differently next month?
Lastly, don't forget to focus on the distant future. Someday, presumably, you'd like to retire. It is essential to balance your short-term goals (saving for college for a child or paying off student loans of your own)with the desire to retire. As you keep one eye fixed down the road and the other watching the short term, don't allow yourself to make unnecessary sacrifices by reprioritizing goals and shifting important targets downy our priority list.
Establishing a personal financial calendar doesn't take long, but the impact on your financial health can be tremendous if you devote yourself to tracking and analyzing your accomplishments throughout the year.