Magazine article Success

Monthly Financial Goals: Get Your Head in the Game for the New Year

Magazine article Success

Monthly Financial Goals: Get Your Head in the Game for the New Year

Article excerpt

If you make time each month to give your money some attention, you'll start the next year in fabulous financial shape. Here's my plan of attack for the upcoming year:

JANUARY: AUTOMATE YOUR SECURITY. Building long-term security requires a commitment to saving, and the easiest way to save is with an automatic transfer. Find the highest-yielding bank or credit union savings account and then set up monthly deposits from your checking account.

FEBRUARY: GET AHEAD. You should have received all documents necessary to complete your taxes. Handling this task early has major benefits. If you're surprised by a tax bill, you have time to figure out a payment strategy. If you're entitled to a refund, you'll receive it that much sooner.

MARCH: SPRING CLEAN. Make time to toss any outdated paperwork. You should keep a copy of your tax return indefinitely, but you need to save supporting documents for only three years (six years for the self-employed).

APRIL: TAKE STOCK. As we head into the sign of Taurus, take a moment to think about bull markets. Focus your stock investments on those that pay dividends-payments a company makes to its shareholders. Stick with a low-cost exchange traded fund (ETF) with a diversified portfolio of dividend payers.

MAY: HIT A HOME RUN. Because most people stay put each year, let's focus on current mortgage holders and their homeowners insurance. If rebuilding costs in your area have fallen in recent years, you could be over-insured. Confirm that you have an extended replacement policy, which pays a set percentage over the dollar value of your coverage.

JUNE: GIFT SMART. With graduations and weddings coming your way, you're probably planning to purchase presents. Here's my gift-giving rule: Respect your current financial situation. Don't spend money you can't spare.

JULY: HAVE THE TALK. …

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