Improving finances in 2023: tips from the experts
The new year is just around the corner, and while you may be busy with year-end plans, trips, and shopping, setting yourself up to thrive in this coming year requires a little advance planning. Starting early will help you put together a solid plan for your income, debt, and savings and ensure that you continue to make progress on your short- and long-term financial goals.
6 ways to prepare your finances for the new year
Consider using any downtime you have before the new year to put your financial house in order. Some easy steps to consider:
Get rid of your budget
Recheck file income Before the new year it can help to know where you will need to make adjustments. Let’s say your income has changed since the last time you budgeted, or you’ve taken on new debt or paid off a loan. Evaluating how much you spend and how you expect that to change in the new year can help you stay on track to reach your goals and make sure you’re setting aside enough to make ends meet and achieve your goals in a timely manner. If you spend a long time on gifts or holiday expensesIt’s also a good time to consider how to replenish your savings or pay off any debts you’ve taken on as a result.
“If there are changes to your salary, it’s wise to revisit your budget and determine how the change will affect your cash flow,” says Patrick Marchenko, certified financial planner and associate financial advisor at Bogart Wealth. “Pay increases are opportunities to increase savings, pay down debt, and set aside more money for personal things like recreation and vacations.”
Try to plan ahead for any big expenses you’ll incur in the coming year so you can start saving for them now and not blow your budget away. “Expenses like annual insurance premiums or tax payments can creep in and drain your cash balances,” says Marcinko. “By having an idea of when larger expenses will occur, you’ll be better prepared for how to pay them off and avoid having to use credit cards or debt.”
Maximize your retirement contributions
While saving for retirement may not be your top priority on a day-to-day basis, it’s important to keep track of your savings and increase your contributions as you get older so you can take advantage of potential employer matches and continue to grow your nest. An egg for the future.
“It generally takes one to two payroll cycles to see any changes in your 401(k) contributions. If you think you can’t make those changes in time, there’s good news—you have until April 18, 2023, to make any 2022 IRA contributions,” he says. Morgan Faith, vice president and financial advisor at Bogart Wealth.
Make plans for your vacation reward
If you receive an end-of-year bonus from your employer, you might be tempted to blow it out on a year-end trip, gifts, or some other impulse purchase. Try to exercise self-control and make a plan for that money; Think about where it will have the greatest impact. Maybe you’re about to pay off your car loan and that extra boost can help you get to the finish line. You probably have credit card debt that is costing you hundreds of interest on a monthly basis. Using that money wisely now can pay off in the long run and help you save.
Replenish your emergency fund
If it’s been a tough year for you and you’ve had unforeseen expenses, you may have dipped into your emergency fund a little…or a lot. It’s what it’s there for, after all. But the most important part of using this safety net is to have a plan for how you will roll over that money. less than Half of Americans have enough savings to cover a $1,000 emergency, according to a Bankrate survey. More than 30% of those surveyed said they would fund their emergencies with a credit card or personal loan, or by borrowing money from family and friends. Taking on high-interest debt is a risky move, but by planning ahead and keeping at least three to six months worth of expenses in your account. emergency fundyou can be sure that your larger financial goals won’t be derailed by short-term financial emergencies.
Use any FSA funds that will expire soon
If you’re making contributions to a flexible spending account (FSA), it’s important to note that this money usually has a “use it or lose it” provision and may not carry over from year to year. However, your employer may offer you a grace period that gives you some extra time at the start of the new year to spend part of your money. You can use this money to cover the cost of certain medical and dental expenses, personal care items, and more. Consider scheduling your doctor’s appointments in advance so that you can save on any costs that may arise as a result.
If your financial situation is still a work in progress, use this time before the new year begins to learn how to course correct. Small modifications to a file incomesavings contributions, Debt repayment strategyAnd spending habits can all lead to significant progress toward your money goals over time.