A financial checklist is an excellent tool to check on how you are progressing towards your goals and to also help identify any specific areas you might need to focus on in the immediate future. Ten key points to consider for 2022 are:
1. Budget and track your spending
Whether you use a software programme (excel) or pen and paper, you need to know where your money is going. Break down your expenses into categories – like home, daily living, transportation and identify where you can scale back. For a free budgets template click here.
2. Check your credit report
Get a free copy of your credit report (a summary of how much you owe and how promptly you pay your bills, which is examined by everyone from lenders to landlords). It is important to know your credit score and to confirm the details listed. You also have the right to challenge any information on the report to ensure that your credit report is accurate. For a free credit report visit here.
3. Tax planning
This is a great time to take advantage of some financial opportunities before the tax year closes (February 28), such as year-end tax deductions and retirement plan contributions. Now is the perfect time to start collecting important tax documents and receipts and to meet with your certified financial planner® and your accountant. He or she can offer valuable time-sensitive advice, such as selling shares, deferring income, contributing to retirement accounts, or donating to charity for a tax write-off.
4. Review your insurance coverage
Review all your policies: life, disability, homeowner’s, and vehicle insurance, etc. Are the limits adequate? Should the deductibles be raised? Is there a less expensive policy with similar coverage? Are you taking advantage of all the discounts offered to you by your insurance providers?
5. Make (or update) your will
This ensures that your personal belongings, assets, and investments go to the beneficiaries you choose.
6. Rebalance your portfolio
Making sure that your asset allocation is in line with your investment goals is an essential part of managing a portfolio and creating wealth. The beginning of the year is an opportune time to do it, and the process may take only a few minutes.
7. Set short- and long-term goals
Whether you want to be debt-free in 10 years or own a house in five, you’re more inclined to save if you have specific goals. So, write them down and determine how much money you’ll need to save each month to reach them.
8. Pay yourself first
Create a regular savings plan. Set up direct deposit from your pay cheque into a savings account or investment. You won’t miss money you don’t see. Start as soon as possible – even if it is just a small amount in the beginning.
9. Plan for ‘D-Day’
Debt-free Day (‘D-Day’) planning starts with paying down bad debts, such as high-interest credit card bills and non-tax-deductible debt. For a free debt repayment template click here.
10. Boost your retirement savings
You need to act on this before February 28 to benefit from the tax-friendly investments into your retirement annuities and pension funds. Contact your certified financial planner® who will be able to assist you in calculating the amount available to contribute and receive the tax-saving incentive and help you boost your retirement savings.