New Year resolutions come and go, with most consigned to the rubbish bin by mid-February. How are yours shaping up? If you haven’t made any this year, here’s a shopping list of small financial targets to get the creative juices going.
2012 Financial Checklist
- Start a budget
- Always a great place to start, yet it can seem much harder than it needs to be.
- Are there months where you will be cashflow negative? Prepare for them now.
- Do you have a fixed savings regime or do you simply save ‘whatever is left’?
- If you are paying off debt, do you know how much you can pay off by the end of 2012?
- Plan your 2012 strategy
- Will your focus be on debt reduction/ savings/ investing or a combination of all three?
- Is your superannuation aimed at the long term or the short term?
- What reserves or contingency plans have you available for disasters/opportunities?
- Ponder your mortality
- Write a will
- What happens with your assets and your debts?
- What guardianship have you arranged for children or people you are responsible for?
- Does anyone have a power of attorney, to be able to deal with your finances if you cannot?
- Alongside of a will, who is the beneficiary of your superannuation account?
- Check your insurance
- Will it achieve what you want it to?
- Is it set up cost effectively?
- Test your long term plans
- If you keep doing what you are doing, what does your long term financial position look like?
- Most people have reacted to the ongoing traumas of the Global Financial Crisis and its siblings by shortening their time horizons – looking at cash as a suitable long term investment option. Is this really true, and would it work for you? Are you organised for long term wealth accumulation or short term risk avoidance?
- Plan your next holiday.
- There should always be a happy reward for doing the right thing.
- Be careful of blowing a year of thrift and hard work and saving by over-indulging on holiday paybacks.
That’s about it. At least, it’s a good start towards making 2012 everything that you want it to be, and ensuring that a year of hard work and effort is rewarded by real results.
If you are a bit stuck on the whole household budget business (where do I start?!)… here’s a budget sheet that you can print out and use to work out your month-to-month cashflows. I haven’t been able to track down exactly where it comes from – but it is definitely one of the better budget planners that i have seen over the years. It’s very much a worthwhile exercise, and will help you take control of your finances in 2012!