It’s official: 2017 has arrived.
Now that the holiday sugar rush has worn off, it’s time to figure out how to turn your financial ambitions into actionable steps and keep up the motivation to make this your best year yet.
Not sure where to begin? These five money to-dos will help you start the new year on the right foot and help set you up for success for the rest of 2017, so you can stay on track to meeting your financial goals.
1. Take Stock of Your Holiday Spending
Deadline: Thursday, January 5
Whether due to last-minute gift giving or having to whip up fancy meals for an endless stream of festive dinner parties, it’s easy for a holiday budget to get thrown out the window. But rather than ignore the problem, confront the damage head-on so you can devise a payoff plan. See just how far off the mark you were, and consider what kinds of adjustments you might have to make for the next few months in order to recover. Then look ahead to how you can get started on a holiday savings plan to cover next year’s costs.
2. Assess What You Did Right Last Year
Deadline: Tuesday, January 10
You may have already set your 2017 resolutions, but it’s important to take some time to reflect on 2016 as well. Did you pay down your student loans or finally get your largest credit card balance to zero? Build up your emergency fund or save for your first home? Pause and give yourself credit for all that progress, and take note of what you had to do to accomplish those wins so you can replicate the strategies in 2017—it’ll make you that much more excited to tackle more this year.
3. File Quarterly Taxes If You’re Self-Employed
Deadline: Friday, January 13
With all the holiday hoopla, your mind might be anywhere but on taxes—but if you’re self-employed or a small-business owner, don’t wait until the last minute to get your fourth-quarter taxes in order; file your estimated payment before the IRS deadline of January 17.
4. Make a Plan for Your 2017 Goals
Deadline: Saturday, January 21
Now that you’ve acknowledged everything you accomplished last year, it’s time to start mapping out how you’ll reach this year’s goals, such as breaking them down into bite-size steps. It also helps to assess what could potentially get in your way and figure out a workaround. For instance, it helps to know how your personality influences your money-management style and all the ways you could be inadvertently sabotaging your goals; after all, becoming more self aware could help you reach them faster.
5. Schedule a Family Financial Chat
Deadline: Saturday, January 28
Money isn’t a topic many people feel comfortable being open about, but talking about it can be a great way to help make sure you and your family are on the same page when it comes to financial goals. According to the 2016 Money Habits & Confessions Survey by LearnVest, 74% of Americans agree that discussing financial resolutions with others would help them see it through. So schedule a sit-down with your spouse, kids or even a significant other—really any loved one you would share goals with—and discuss how you can support one another in sticking to both individual and shared money resolutions.
We know money isn’t the most comfortable thing to talk—or even think—about. So we’re here to help! Save your goal and we’ll help you stick with it at learnvest.com/havethetalk!
This publication is not intended as legal or tax advice. Taxpayers should seek advice based on their particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor.