The countdown is over and the bubbly's been popped: 2018 has arrived. You may still be in the holiday mindset, but it’s time to start looking ahead to everything you want to tackle over the next 12 months.
We know, it’s heavy. That’s why we’re all about taking small, manageable steps. Here are five things to take care of this month so you can start the new year strong.
1. Assess Your Holiday Spending
Deadline: Friday, January 5
If you haven’t sat down and tracked everything you spent over the holidays, make sure you take stock now. Between gifts, travel and dinner parties, your spending likely added up fast. So see what the final damage is, and assess whether you stayed in budget. If you did, congrats! Now keep this number as a baseline for the next holiday season and start putting money away each month to prepare for it. If you got off track, don’t panic: These tips will help you recoup some of that cash.
2. File Quarterly Taxes
Deadline: Friday, January 12
Taxes have been in the news a lot lately with the passage of the new Republican tax plan. But if you’re a freelancer or business owner, taxes are on your mind for a different reason: The deadline to file your estimated taxes for the last quarter of 2017 is Monday, January 15. Don’t wait until the last minute. Make sure you file with time to spare to avoid late penalties.
3. Set 2018 Goals
Deadline: Tuesday, January 16
A new year calls for new goals, and here at LearnVest, we’re big fans of setting goals for your money. Financial resolutions might sound daunting, but they’re not unlike setting fitness goals — and you can apply these strategies to help you meet both. If you’ve had trouble sticking to your resolutions in the past, it could be due to one of these five mistakes. So make sure to avoid them and make 2018 the year you meet all your goals.
4. Take Your Career to the Next Level
Deadline: Thursday, January 25
Companies are gearing up for first-quarter promotions and new hires, which makes January the perfect time to plan your next career move. Maybe you’re hoping to advance at your current company or looking for a new job altogether. Either way, the time to take action is now. These nine tips can help you make 2018 your best career year yet. And if you’re not ready to make a big change but want to see what else is out there, here are easy ways to soft-launch your job search.
5. Increase Your Retirement Contributions
Deadline: Monday, January 29
Want a quick win to start the year out right? See if your budget can accommodate an increase in your retirement contributions. If you have the wiggle room, consider bumping them up by a percentage point or two. Chances are, you won’t notice the difference in your paycheck, but it will make a difference in your retirement savings, thanks to compound interest. And while you’re at it, consider what other money tasks you can automate to help reach your money goals this year.