New Year New Checklist!
by Brandon Miller on Jan 17, 2024
New Year New Checklist!
Presented by Brio Financial Group
Happy New Year! Assuming you’ve recovered from your New Years celebration by now, it’s time to shake off that fog and start the new year off right! While I’m not a fan of ‘resolutions’, I am a big fan of planning. Taking easy steps now can spare you headaches down the road. So why not add some financial refreshers to your resolution list?
Revise that Budget
If you haven’t revised your budget yet, this is the perfect time to do so. First assess your monthly cashflow. How much money are you bringing in? What are your fixed expenses, such as a mortgage, insurances, car payments, numbers that won’t really change from month to month. Then work from there to personal expenses that are important to you, classes you take, morning coffees, door dash. This also includes your retirement contributions as well (more on that later). Then take a hard look at your actual spending from 2023. Did you allow for enough for Ubers back from The Lookout? Make sure that your budget and bank account are in line and adjust where they aren’t.
Check In with Savings Goals and Emergency Fund
Were you able to hit your savings goal last year? If not, this will be a great time to sit down and look at the goals you set for yourself and see what you can tweak to set yourself for success this year. If so, that’s great! Keep doing what you are doing and ask yourself could you increase your goal? Did you get a pay increase last year? Make sure you are making that money work for your somewhere. This Savings is for stuff you are planning for, vacations, college tuition, a down payment for a house. This isn’t the oh no I got laid off fund. That’s separate and you should be saving for life’s curveballs too. The rule of thumb is to have enough in your emergency fund to sustain yourself on 3- 6 months of housing expenses and monthly expenses.
Down with the Debt
Debt can be a bump in your road onto financial independence. Make sure you paying it down and making higher than the minimum due amount when possible. Start with debt with high interest rates such as credit cards and student loans. For debt, we don’t want to carry much of a balance. We understand that life sometimes has a way of catching us off guard, such as having an emergency vet visit or your car breaking down and needing to pay the mechanic a bill. But don’t let the debt get so big that it looms over you like a dark cloud.
Saving for Retirement
Make sure you are also saving to a retirement plan. If your company has a match, make sure your contributions are capturing as much of that match as possible. It’s also not too late to add to your IRA. The IRA contribution limit for 2024 is $7,000 for those under age 50, and $8,000 for those age 50 or older. You can make 2024 IRA contributions until the federal tax filing deadline for income earned in 2024. This is up from 2023’s limits of $6,500 for those under age 50, and $7,500 for those age 50 or older. You can make 2023 IRA contributions until your April 15th federal tax deadline for income earned in 2023.
Get Your Affairs in Order
No, not those kind of affairs. It is daunting to think about but estate documents critically important. Super key documents that we recommend everyone to have prepped are a durable power of attorney and a revocable living trust. Updating your beneficiary designations is also part of this routine. At the very least avail yourself of free resources to help get one set up. It’s that crucial to have something in place. Early January is an opportune time to consider the larger impact that changes you make now could have by the end of the year. Even minor adjustments today can make a big difference over time. The second Friday of every January is infamously known as “Quitter's Day." It’s the day on the calendar by which most people have already abandoned their freshly made resolutions. Truthfully, it’s not hard to believe. As we’ve all experienced at one time or another, it's easy to get discouraged with our goals, especially after the initial enthusiasm starts to fade. You don’t want to be a quitter now do you? The secret to staying power is breaking down your long-term goals into smaller, more manageable milestones. What can you do today that will improve your situation by Day 365?
Brio Financial Group is an SEC registered investment adviser. SEC registration does not constitute an endorsement of Brio Financial Group by the SEC nor does it indicate that Brio Financial Group has attained a particular level of skill or ability. This material prepared by Brio Financial Group is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to serve as a substitute for personalized investment advice or as a recommendation or solicitation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. Opinions expressed by Brio Financial Group are based on economic or market conditions at the time this material was written. Facts presented have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Brio Financial Group, however, cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of such information, and certain information presented here may have been condensed or summarized from its original source. Brio Financial Group does not provide tax or legal advice, and nothing contained in these materials should be taken as tax or legal advice. Please consult with your tax professional regarding your particular situation before implementing any strategies discussed.