As you continue on through what has hopefully been an exciting start to the year, it’s important to check in with yourself and your finances to make sure you are on track to achieve your goals. The following calendar is meant to provide some small steps each month that you can take to remain focused on your big picture financial plan. While it is not exhaustive, think of it as a template awaiting your customization and remember to revisit each of these areas next year too.
January – As you begin a new year, outline any large expenses you expect to incur so you can plan for them in advance.
February – You should start to see important tax documents arrive in the mail or to your inbox. Organize these so that you can easily get them to your tax preparer. Note: if you missed either of these first two steps, it’s not too late to catch up in March!
April – If you stayed organized in February and March, hopefully you aren’t scrambling at this point to get your taxes prepared. Work with your tax advisor to determine if there are changes you should make to optimize your taxes.
May – If you listen carefully, you can hear the sound of some birds chirping and accountants boarding planes for a much-deserved vacation. Now is a good time to revisit those large expenses you outlined in January and see how you’re progressing towards your goals.
June – Examine your habits and consider making adjustments. Have you been saving the way you’d like to? Are there goals you’re neglecting?
July – Half the year has now passed, and summer is in full swing. Life is moving fast, but it’s important to be reflective, so make sure you review at least one important part of your financial plan. When was the last time you looked at your estate planning documents or insurance plan? Pick one, think about your concerns, then schedule a meeting with the right professional for the job.
August – Wow, this year is flying by! If you are like most people, the project you outlined in July is still sitting there waiting for your attention. You know what you need to do.
September – Was one of your goals maxing out contributions to your employer-sponsored retirement plan? This is a good time to pull up your year-to-date information and see if you’re on track. You might as well complete a full review of your paystub at this time to make sure everything else makes sense too.
October – Year-end will be here before you know it, so it’s a good time to consider any tax planning items you mean to complete such as charitable giving strategies that optimize your deductions.
November – While you’re taking time to be thankful, also reflect on what you have accomplished this year and what you hope to achieve next year.
December – Make sure everything with a year-end deadline, like RMDs, is complete!
We hope you found this helpful. If you’re overwhelmed by the above or feel that your calendar has more complexity, it’s a good idea to engage an advisor to help you navigate your plan.