Fiscally Ready for New Year?

Michele SfakianosUncategorizedLeave a Comment

I found this short article from Suze Orman and wanted to share:

No-Sweat Fiscal Fitness Checklist

Make just one small change each month, and by this time next year you’ll be in the best financial shape of your life.

January: If your employer matches employee contributions to a 401(K), sign up now. Make sure you set aside enough to qualify for the maximum company match.

February: By now you should have all the documents you need to complete your 2013 taxes: your W-2, 1098 (if you have a mortgage), and 1099 forms. File early, and you’ll receive your refund (if you’re owned one) that much sooner.

March: Toss old paperwork. Ditch your utility bills, pay stubs, and bank and credit card statements after 12 months unless you plan to take a tax deduction for a home office. In that case, keep those supporting documents for three years. Hold on to your tax returns indefinitely.

April: If you do file your taxes in April, let your return guide your next move. Earned a refund? Adjust your W-4 withholding so that money stays in your paychecks this year. Owe a penalty? Make sure you’re having enough withheld.

May: Mortgage holders, check your homeowner’s insurance. If rebuilding costs in your area have changed, you might have too much (or too little) coverage.

June: With graduations and weddings coming up, you’re probably purchasing presents. Respect your current financial situation. No one wants you to spend money you don’t have.

July: Confirm that your parents have the key estate documents: a will, a revocable living trust, and durable power of attorney for both healthcare and financial matters.

August: As your kids get ready for school, think about teaching them some new money rules. Instead of giving an allowance, try a work-for-pay setup. It’s a better way to impart the value of money.

September: Visit, where you can access your reports on file at the big-three credit bureaus -for free. See mistakes? Obtain your FICO credit score ($19.95;

October: Prepare for the unexpected. For most families, term life makes sense. Find a policy at or

November: Evaluate your benefits package for the coming year. If you’re in good health, reduce your premiums by signing up for a plan with a higher deductible, then invest in a health savings account.

December: Avoid that nasty January credit card bill by paying for everything in cash this month – the surest way to start the New Year right. (Oprah Magazine)

This is the best advice I found for starting the New Year. If you decide to follow these suggestions, let me know in December how you did. We can compare notes!

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