Well, it depends on who you ask…it can really be both!
Financial experts celebrate the New Year on October 1, while most of us operate contingent upon the calendar year from January- January.
Inevitably, the way that you manage your finances and manage your enterprise as a self-governed entity depends on when you elect to participate in the New Year. For my personal as well as business preference I prefer to operate with the fiscal New Year’s start date of October 1, and here’s why.
In preparation for the holiday season as well as the calendar start of the New Year in terms of financing and budgeting, I have always found it much easier to begin earlier than to start late. Think about it, from October- December we are essentially in holiday mode. Beginning with Thanksgiving and ending with Christmas. While most of us are attempting to adhere to a monthly household budget in addition to ensuring that we are able to celebrate the holidays without going into debt; while still maximizing our savings…the holiday season can certainly present its fair share of challenges! Having a financial ‘eg-up, so to speak on budgeting can and will set any savvy saver up for success when it comes to ensuring that their assets are protected during the holiday season as well as the duration of the year.
So, if you have been managing your finances based on the calendar year…No worries! Q4 is an excellent time to hit the reset button and put things in perspective for the remainder of the year, while simultaneously stepping into the New Year. Here are few steps to prepare you for success as we look forward to stepping into the New Year with purpose, comprehension of our finances, great credit scores, healthy relationships and so much more!
Check and re-check your bank statements
Is your account being assessed any maintenance fees? While free checking accounts are almost obsolete, there are ways to earn fee waivers with minimum account balances, qualifying transactions, etc. Reach out to your personal banker to determine banking options for you.
Are you carrying balances on any credit cards?
If so I am sure you are paying a TON of unnecessary interest. The good news is, almost every credit card issuer offers a 0% balance transfer as an introductory APR.
Utilize the 0% balance transfer to pay off balances for 12-18 months and save yourself some money!
There may be a fee affiliated with the transfer that is typically a percentage of the transfer so be sure to get all of the info upfront before transferring.
*you may want to consider dumping funds from savings on an extensive credit card balance… think about it, if your credit card is charging you 22% in interest and you are only earning 0.05% on your savings…are you REALLY saving? This brings me to my next point. SAVINGS.
Have diversified your retirement, emergency, and long-term savings?
IRAs both Traditional and Roth have considerable benefits…when is the last time you have reviewed your retirement plan?
Emergency funds should cover any unexpected expenses, flat-tire, kids need new shoes, medical expenses, etc.
Short-term savings should be the last place you invest money into for those desired items, vacations, new purses, new game consoles, etc.
Long-term savings may be an investment vehicle such as your 401 (k) or IRA.
Cable, Internet & Phone???
This is the perfect time to review your contract with your current service provider. Did you sign up for an introductory promotion that has now expired? If so, ask what the current offer is. If it is only available for new customers, SWITCH.
Carefully review the itemized version of your phone bill…how many add-on services are you paying for that you were unaware of??? There are a plethora of hidden fees!
Shop your banks/financial institutions.
What rate of return are you earning on your accounts?
Check out Synchrony, CapitalOne, & Barclays online accounts for the highest yielding savings.
Check on your insurance policy.
Are you eligible for any premium reductions?
Is there an option for cash out if necessary?
I hope that you were able to find value in the information presented in this week’s edition of #FinanceFriYAY. As with any other integral facet of life, finances desire to be reviewed with frequency and attentiveness. In addition to the suggestions included in the blog, please be sure to take your time to review your accounts for accuracy. Banks as well as other financial institutions make mistakes as well. The key to being a savvy financier is managing your finances in a timely fashion with accuracy! Drop a comment and let me know if this information was valuable or if there are any Finance FriYAY! Topics you would like to discuss! Remember to join the community!