Before the year ends, it’s good to take some time and reflect on where your money went throughout the past year.
If you're like us, maybe you spent a little too much on Beyonce tickets or food delivery, but don't let that stop you from getting refocused on the year ahead.
If you did end up accomplishing your goals, we hope you take the time to celebrate this accomplishment.
Either way, it's time to sit, reflect, and figure out what you're going to do in the new year.
End-of-Year Financial Checklist
Let's go through a checklist you can do at the end of every year so you can get in touch with your money and navigate your plans for the year ahead.
Take a look through your budgets
If you have a MSTRPLN planner, you already have your budget up to date.
If you don’t have an updated budget, at least look through the last two or three months of bank statements to get a rough idea of what you spent.
Audit your categories
Now that you know what you’ve spent, how do you feel about your spending?
Did you put your money where you wanted it to go?
There are most likely things that have been pulling at your money that you need to cancel or update.
For most of us, things like subscriptions or eating out can sneak into our budgets.
Maybe a company you automatically are subscribed to increased their prices or added on an additional charges. Maybe your bank has fees you can avoid paying. Maybe you have some late fees because you don't pay some bills on time.
Now is the time to trim these out of your budget so you can save more money next year.
Did you hit your goals this year?
Don't spend more time beating yourself up than you need to if you didn't hit your goals this year.
Lots of us went through unforeseen financial stresses and other issues that took a hit on our goals and plans.
Just know if you even made a good effort toward any of your goals, that got you farther than if you didn't set any in the first place.
Check in on your debts
Ideally, you ended up with less debt than you started the year with.
However, that's not always the case or you realize you still have a ton of debt to go.
This would be a good time to sit and reflect on your debt payoff method and if it's working for you.
Could you contribute more in the new year? Is there a debt you want to focus on more?
Check on your credit score
There are tools like Credit Karma that can help you keep on top of your finances regularly.
It's always good to check in to make sure there are not any problems in your credit report.
If you plan to make any big moves in the upcoming year, such as buying a new car or a house, this is especially important because your credit score will impact the offers you'll receive.
Estimate your taxes
If you're a freelancer, you know how important it is to stay on top of your taxes because they're not taken out like regularly employees.
Even if you're a regular employee, you might want to see if there's anything you need to do to update your tax filing or if you can expect a tax return from this past year.
Complete open enrollment
For our American readers, this is the time to enroll in health insurance and make sure you're set for the year ahead.
Check out your insurance policies
Look through your home insurance, your auto insurance, and any other types of insurances to make sure they give you enough coverage or if you need more.
Some companies also raise rates or coverages automatically so you might want to call and ask them to lower it again.
Pro tip: If you have a sinking fund set up for your insurances, you can pay them all at once and not have to think about them for a whole year. You might even get a discount for doing so!
Review your retirement accounts
At the very least, max out your employer match contributions for your 401K so you can get that benefit from that.
From there, you'll want to max out any IRA's you have as well.
Review and rebalance your portfolio
Making sure your portfolio is balanced can help your sanity.
This is also a good time to assess your risk tolerance and move your money to things that will help you hit your future goals.
How can you adjustments to fit your needs over the next few years so you feel comfortable?
Chat with your financial planner
If you have a financial planner, you can go over most of these steps and more with them to get in touch with where you're at and any new opportunities for the year ahead.
Celebrate how far you've come
No matter where you are in your financial journey, if you're even taking the first few steps to get your finances in order, you should be extremely proud of yourself.
Set up new year budgets
Now that you are done with your audit, it’s time to think about where you want your money to go in the new year.
Now is especially the time to go through and set a new budget for yourself since you just went through all of the other steps above, so you should have a good top-down view of your current financial situation.
Set up your new year goals
Once you've done the hard part of setting your budget, it's time to have some fun.
Take the time to set some goals for the new year. Now that you know where your money has gone over the last year, it's easier to figure out where it's going to go.
That's all you need to do to get on top of your money for next year! It's certainly not a quick process, but it will be worth it.