Rights & Money

Financial Planning for the New Year

Start off the new year on the right financial footing with this checklist

By Matt Smith

The New Year may be the time for resolutions, but it’s also an ideal time for reflecting on the past and planning for the future—to review your finances from last year and organize your financial plans for 2019. Use this checklist as a guide to start your year off right:

Review your finances and calculate your net worth. Take stock of your current financial situation to best prepare for the coming year. If you haven’t already, now is a great time to set up your online banking so you can easily manage your money and pay bills from home.

Check your credit if you haven’t in the last 6 months. You can do this for free, without affecting your credit score.

Assess your savings and investments for the current tax year. The deadline to contribute to RRSPs is March 1, so you make sure you contribute as much as you intend to by that date.

Review your insurance policies to make sure that your coverage is up to date. Be sure to take into account any major changes over the past year—such as home renovations—that might affect your coverage.

Prepare for tax season by gathering all the documents you can, and consider scheduling a meeting with your accountant to get a head start.

Set goals for the coming year—ask yourself what you’ll need to do to achieve them and how they fit into your current financial situation. Think about creating or improving your emergency fund and aim to increase contributions to your retirement savings.

Make a budget to work towards these goals. If you have a budget from last year, review it and make the appropriate changes to reflect your current needs, and reflect on the past year’s spending and saving habits. If you’re not already an avid budgeter, now is the time to start.

Photo: iStock/busracavus.