Another year has come and gone. It always amazes me how time seems to fly by, especially the older we get.
One thing that I always love to do at the end of a year is reflect. Reflect on my goals. Reflect on my accomplishments. Reflect on my opportunities.
This gives me an opportunity to close out the current year and prepare for the next one!
If you’ve never taken the time to close out your finances for the year, I challenge to make this the year you start! As we get closer to the new year, there’s no better time to wrap up the old and move forward with the new!
Check out 5 ways to close out your finances for the year and get ready for even more success!
5 Ways to Close Out Your Finances for the Year
#1 Review your monthly budgets from the start of the year until now
As you know, you should be tracking your budget and spending monthly (at minimum). Not only does this keep you on track throughout the month, but the information can be leveraged to help you close out your finances for the year.
Look at the monthly budgets you created over the course of the year. Ask yourself a few questions:
“Did everything go according to plan?”
“What budget changes have happened over time?”
“How can I make my budget more effective in the new year?”
The goal here is to identify any areas of opportunity and improvement. When you can see what did and didn’t work, you know what to focus on moving forward.
#2 Complete any year end tasks that are still pending
When it comes to finances, there are some tasks that need to be done to close out the previous year.
Let’s start with tax benefits! If you’re contributing to an IRA, you want to make sure you’ve hit the full contribution limit for the year within a specific timeframe.
As of the writing of this article, that timeframe is by the 31st of March of the next year.
Another March 31st deadline item is using the funds in your FSA. Thankfully, your HSA is for life, so no rush there. If you’re not familiar with these terms, check out the article Health Benefits Basics.
Other year end tasks that may require your attention include any savings account transfers, 401k changes or new account openings. The goal is to make sure you’re fully prepped and ready for the new year.
#3 Jot down your financial goal progress from the year
What goals did you set during the current year? Ideally you already have them written down somewhere, along with measurements for tracking the progress made towards them.
Make note of any goals that you accomplished during the year (and give yourself a pat on the back)!
If you didn’t hit specific goals, get clear on why and what you need to do to course correct. If the goal still applies, decide if that will be a priority focus for the new year.
I don’t want you to feel like you have goals lingering as we move into the new year. When you’re focusing on the same goal for the next year, we’ll start fresh!
#4 Reflect on your money wins, opportunities, and epiphanies
Give yourself 15 minutes to sit and brainstorm your year financially. What wins did you have with your money? Big or small!
What opportunities did you not take advantage of that you plan to next year? What epiphanies did you have about how you handle money?
Extra points if you can write your answers down in a journal or notebook. Once you’ve completed your reflection and got your thoughts written down, re-read them!
What can you learn from everything that happened over the past year? We always want to be learning and growing, and reflection can assist with that!
#5 Make one final money move to help you start the year off on the right foot
After everything is said and done, what’s one more thing you can do to end the year on a high note and start the next year on the right foot? Here are some ideas:
- Make a transfer to savings (even if it’s $5)
- Open an IRA, or other new account
- Write down your money goals
- Read a personal finance article, blog, or book
- Start investing, even if it’s on a small scale
Closing out your finances for the current year puts you in a position of power for the new year. You feel rejuvenated, refreshed, and motivated to reach your money goals!
How do you close out your finances for the year? Do you have any routines? Post a comment below to share the tips and tricks that work best for you!