It seems every year between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day I can’t seem to find the time to fit in my workouts. Now it’s mid-January, and I still haven’t gotten back at it, despite knowing I feel 150% better when I do.
So now, I will pay the price.
I have not performed any studies, but I would venture to guess that exercise/diet and getting a handle on one’s finances are two of the most common resolutions people make each January.
I can’t give much advice on the former – I welcome it if you have any – but here are a few suggestions on the latter:
1. Get Organized:
Know what you have and where you have it. Create a spreadsheet or use a tracking software to note the type of account, where it is held and username/passwords. I mentioned Last Pass in a previous newsletter and now can’t imagine a day without it. It’s technically a password management software, which in itself is awesome, but you can also organize everything into folders and keep notes for each one.
2. Automate bill payments:
There’s nothing worse than having to pay late fees and interest charges because you missed a payment. Anything that can be automated should be automated.
3. Pay yourself first:
This is one of the most significant things you can do for yourself to reach your saving’s goal. Most employer plans are automated, but you can also set up autopayments to build an emergency fund, a vacation spending account or any type of investment account. You never tend to miss the money you never see. But the beauty of it is…it’s still your money.
4. Track your spending (everyone hates this one, even me)
Why do we hate it? Because it’s SO eye-opening and we sometimes do not like what we see. There is software out there to help. Quicken, Mint or Tiller seem to be the most popular. But even an old fashioned spreadsheet will work.
5. Review and update estate planning documents:
Life insurance and retirement account assets do not pass by way of will. You must have named beneficiaries on these assets if you want your wishes to be carried out. Review your beneficiary designations, powers of attorney, health care proxies and any other estate documents to be sure they still reflect your wishes.
Commit to even just one of these now and email me here to let me know which one you choose. Sometimes “saying it out loud” is the only force we need to take action.
Financial Fitness Tip
For those of you who have teens or young adults with part-time jobs, they will have a W2 detailing their wages and any taxes withheld. They will have had to pay FICA taxes (Social Security and Medicare). This is mandatory.
If their W2 indicates they have also had Federal and State taxes withheld, then they may want to file for a possible refund. Chances are, they did not earn enough throughout the year to owe any federal or state income taxes, so whatever was withheld from their paycheck is theirs.
However, they will have to file a tax return to get it back.
Things I Love: A Great Quote
Don’t you just love a great quote? I’m changing things up for 2021 and moving from “Things I Love” to “My Favorite Quotes”.
Since I’m writing this newsletter on MLK Jr. Day, I thought I would kick off with one from him:
“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
Thanks to the progress we’ve made, he would most definitely include “and sisters” if he were giving his inspiring speeches today.
Feel free to share a favorite quote of yours here and I will feature it in a future newsletter!