Have You Made Personal Finance Part of Your New Year's Resolutions?
The new year has arrived, and between your new gym routine and diet planning, you may be trying to keep your new financial resolutions as well. Whether you're hoping to save more for retirement this year or buy a new home, our checklist will help you make sure your finances are in order.
Review Your 401K/Retirement Contributions
With a raise in your salary or new financial goals for the year, it may be wise to review your retirement savings. An annual raise at work could mean that you have money more available to put toward retirement, while a new financial goal like saving for a home could cause a temporary dip in your contributions. With the whole year ahead of you, January is a great time to reassess the how much money is the right amount to put toward your retirement annually. If you want to max out your 401k contribution in 2019: it should be noted that your limits increase to $19,000 from $18,500 in 2018. Catch-up contributions for those 50 and over stay the same at $6,000.
Check Your Credit Score
Don't overlook this one. Knowing your credit score is increasingly important in the modern consumer climate. You can check your score once a year directly without negatively affecting your credit score, and January is a good time to do this so that your 2019 kicks off without any credit snags.
Review credit-check services offered by your preferred bank, credit union, and/or credit card companies to find out if they offer regular credit score updates.
Complete Your Taxes On Time
While it might be enticing to put off tax time until the last minute, waiting until April to begin your taxes could cause you to make costly mistakes, potentially incurring penalties and headaches down the line. Getting your taxes started in January can help to ensure that you'll complete them correctly and on time. Of course, if you receive a refund, the earlier you do your taxes, the earlier it will arrive.
Recent tax legislation may cause you to see changes in the amount you pay in 2019. Talk to your CPA or tax preparer to make sure you stay abreast of changes to that affect your individual financial situation.
Review Your Household Finances and Budget
Take a step back this January and review how your household is spending money. Reacquaint yourself with your budget or rip the old one up and draft a new one. Either way, getting in control of your household finances can help you get out of debt, reassess your priorities and hopefully save more money this year than you did last. Being mindful of your budget, even when you don't exactly hit the mark, can help you be a smart spender this year.
If you're looking for ways to trim your household spending, look at your recurring expenses. Things like subscriptions, or trips to the nail salon can add up quickly, but are small enough to go overlooked.
Help Protect Your Family with a Life Insurance Policy
Given January is a time to reevaluate your finances, it may also be a good time to search for the extra dollars you need each month to help protect your family with a life insurance policy. Life insurance is there to financially help your family if you or your spouse no longer can. With a policy for nearly every individual, get started by requesting a quote for life insurance. Make sure the whole family is covered in 2019.
If you already have a life insurance policy, January is also a great time to do an annual policy review. A policy review is a good way to make sure that you still have the proper amount of coverage and that your beneficiary is still correct. If you have term life insurance, it may also be a good time to consider whether converting to a permanent policy may be right for you.
It's traditional in January to focus on health and being the best version of you. Try using this financial checklist in 2019 to make financial health your focus and get your house in order for the rest of the year.