As 2021 draws to a close, take a moment to go through this year-end financial checklist to ensure your finances are in order before the start of the New Year.
1. Review your budget
Is your current monthly budget working for you? Are you stretching some spending categories or finishing each month in the red? Take some time to review your budget and make any necessary changes.
2. Top off your retirement plan
If you have a 401(k), check to see that you are taking full advantage of your employer’s matching contributions. If you haven’t contributed as much as you can, you have until the end of the year to catch up, to a limit of $19,500. If you have an IRA, you have until April 15 to scrape together the maximum contribution of $6,000, with an additional $1,000 if you are 50 years or older.
3. Check your progress on paying down debt
Review your outstanding debts from one year ago and hold up the amounts against what you now owe. Have you shed any debt from one year ago, or is your debt growing? If you’ve made no progress, or your debt has deepened, consider taking bigger steps toward paying it down in 2022.
4. Get a free copy of your annual credit report
The end of the year is a great time for an annual credit checkup. You can only request a free copy of your credit report from all three credit reporting agencies once a year. Get your annual credit report here, and look for fraudulent charges and other signs of possible identity theft.
5. Review your investments and asset allocation
You may need to make some adjustments to your mix of stocks, bonds, cash and other investments to better reflect your personal financial goals and/or the current state of the economy and market.
6. Review your beneficiaries
Has your family situation changed during the past year? If it has, be sure to switch the beneficiaries on your accounts and life insurance policies to accommodate these changes.
7. Review your tax withholdings
Review your W-4 to see if the amount of tax withheld from each paycheck needs to be adjusted. If you’re not a numbers person, ask your accountant for help.
Use this checklist to make sure your money matters are in order before the start of 2022.