By Cindy Morus
Of course, these don't have to be done in any particular order!
Just pick one or two that particularly apply to your situation.
Create your 2005 filing system. This might include new file folders, a new box to hold them or space in a filing cabinet with easy access.
Set up a folder to collect all the important 2004 tax documents which will be arriving soon. Sure to arrive at your house are W-2s, 1099s, etc.
Set up an appointment with your tax professional early so you get the appointment of your choice. This also gives you a deadline to get your information ready! If youíre self-employed, the first quarterly estimated tax payment will be due on January 15.
Review last yearís investments especially in your 401(k), IRAís etc. Find out what financial planning resources your company or 401(k) plan administrator offers and set up an appointment to talk to them. For non-company portfolios, talk to your investment advisor. You have until April 15 to make contributions to IRA type accounts (check with your tax preparer for eligibility).
What about Quicken or Microsoft Money? If you donít use software to balance your checkbook, pay your bills and keep track of your savings and investments, this is a great time of the year to get started. My personal favorite is Quicken and for small businesses, you might consider Quicken Home and Business. If you are a small business with Payroll needs, check out QuickBooks.
Medical Insurance reimbursements. If you havenít submitted all your medical bills to your insurance provider, now is the time to do so.
Will and Estate Planning. No one likes to think about dying, but the best thing you can do for your family is to make sure they are taken care of by creating a will and making sure you have adequate life insurance. Think how easily youíll sleep knowing you have provided for your family even if you are no longer there.
Speaking of insuranceÖ If you havenít reviewed your health or home and auto policies in the last couple of years you might find you can save money and/or have better coverage. For example, if you still have a $250 deductible (which was my first deductible in 1979!), you will probably save by increasing it to $500 or $1000. Try to set aside some of your savings for deductibles in case you need them.
Create your own Anti-Emergency Fund: we all know those car and home repairs, school fees, medical expenses and vacations are going to happen. Why not determine how much youíll need and save 1/12 of it each month?
Holiday Bonus or Money Gifts: If you received a financial gift this holiday season, hold on to it for at least 30 days while you decide what you really want to spend it on. All too often financial windfalls are spent before they even arrive. Consider dividing it into thirds: 1/3 to the past, 1/3 to the present and 1/3 to the future. Past might include paying down debt, present could be something you need or want now and future could be retirement, college savings, or a special vacation
Financial Goals for next year: Think about where you want to be next year at this time financially. If you want to save $1000, put aside $2.74 each day and youíll be there! Break down your financial goals into monthly, weekly and daily amounts and watch how quickly your savings will grow.
Happy New Year!!!!!
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