We started the holidays with Thanksgiving and will go strong through New Year’s Day. This time of year is like a good sandwich; a great turkey, stuffing, cranberry tasting slice of bread on the bottom and a New Year’s champagne flavored slice of bread on top. In the middle, we fill this sandwich with holiday parties, treats, gifts and memories we share. This sandwich often gets so full of things that we then have to make resolutions for the New Year because we did too much to end the year; our sandwich had too many calories and cost us too much.
So let me share with you FIVE THINGS TO DO NOW to prepare financially for 2022…
1. Focus on your health now.
Wait, I said five things to do now to prepare financially and I start with a health topic. Yes! Health is the new wealth. When we overeat and skip workouts in December, we start the year heavier and immediately resolve to lose weight and workout more. Focus on not overeating, skipping the extra drink and get in some exercise. It will help you tremendously.
2. Give the gifts that cost no money.
Ok, Mike, you are losing it. You started with health and now giving away free gifts. We all have talents, skills and expertise that can help someone we love. Package it as a gift. Offer to babysit for family members of friends so they don’t have to spend money on date night. Make a gift for someone. Or, use your skills of technology know how, landscaping, cleaning or baking goods and offer those as a gift. We all know people who may not be able to handle technology, but your skill can help them and save them money.
3. Make a tax folder and start doing your taxes as soon as your documents arrive next year.
It’s better to get your tax return for 2021 done earlier in the year than reaching a deadline. Even if you owe taxes, having the return done puts the stress away. What you can do now is list out any gifts you made this year (or make some charitable gifts by the end of the year to local charities)! Then, this folder is also ready as mail comes in during January to organize yourself. Go ahead and try this organization tip.
4. Pull out your investment statements now and get ready for the 2022 review; better yet, have a review now by the end of 2021.
Do you have some losers in your portfolio that can get you a tax benefit now; maybe you want to sell some of those shares to take advantage of the capital loss. Maybe your asset allocation is out of whack now because of stock market changes; time to rebalance. Or maybe you have more cash than you need; time to put it to work. Don’t waste time on this one.
5. Decide what changes you want to make now for 2022 savings and try it.
Maybe you have to roll the coins in your jar at home (double benefit here: it will solve the coin shortage in America and put that money back to work for you) to save some money. Or, you have to choose to make one less gift to yourself this year. But just start the discipline of saving a priority in 2022. Your future self will thank you.