Happy February! The shortest month is also one of the most eventful, what with African American History Month, Valentine's Day and an extra 24 hours on the calendar this year (that means one more day to catch up on those money resolutions!).
Speaking of resolutions, how are those going exactly?
Whether you're still feeling energized or need some second-month motivation, the next four weeks are all about making good on those bigger financial goals by completing smaller action items. Check off these five quick to-dos to help you fall in love with the financially responsible you.
1. Help Your Student Fill Out FAFSA and Scholarship Applications. Deadline: Monday, February 8th
With your senior approaching the finish line of her high school career, it’s easy to catch a case of "senioritis." Keep them on the college-bound track by breaking down their prep into a 6-month, play-by-play money road map to their first day on campus. Whether it’s filling out the FAFSA or applying for scholarships, remind her that every penny counts. After all, the more financial responsibility she starts taking on now, the better off she'll be.
2. Reach Out to Your Professional Contacts. Deadline: Thursday, February 11th
The post-holiday New Year rush probably means you never followed up with the professional contacts you made at the end of last year's holiday networking season. Take the time to reconnect by either sending them a note directly or using social media to see what they’ve been up to. That way you've bridged the networking season gap and will be on their radar for any opportunities cropping up in 2016.
3. Prepare for Tax Season. Deadline: Thursday, February 18th
We understand that doing your taxes might not be your favorite way to spend an evening. However, getting a head start on the paperwork now can mean more peace of mind come Tax Day (April 18th this year). Start rounding up your W-2s and 1099s (which should be on their way to you in the mail if they haven't arrived already) and get to filing.
4. Assess Your Emergency Fund. Deadline: Thursday, February 25th
Has your income shifted in the last year? It may be time to revisit the status of your emergency fund, which should ideally be anywhere from 6 to 9 months of your take-home pay, to make sure you're fully covered should an unexpected expense come up in 2016. Consider these reasons to tap into a rainy day fund as extra motivation to kick your savings up if you're not quite there.
5. Pick Up a New Healthy Habit. Deadline: Monday, February 29th
This year we get a Leap Day, so it’s only right that we squeeze in an extra goal before the month is over. Make the most of the day by committing to a new healthy habit, whether it's cooking more instead of eating out, making sure your desk job doesn't impact your health, or even breaking a sweat before work to turbocharge your day. The benefits can go beyond the physical, too—studies have shown that your health can impact your financial well-being. Time to get moving!
LearnVest Planning Services is a registered investment adviser and subsidiary of LearnVest, Inc., that provides financial plans for its clients. Information shown is for illustrative purposes only and is not intended as investment, legal or tax planning advice. Please consult a financial adviser, attorney or tax specialist for advice specific to your financial situation. LearnVest Planning Services and any third parties listed, linked to or otherwise appearing in this message are separate and unaffiliated and are not responsible for each other’s products, services or policies. LearnVest, Inc. is wholly owned by NM Planning, LLC, a subsidiary of The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company.