December 12, 2023

Financial Preparation for the New Year

As the year wraps up, and we prepare to welcome the New Year, it is the perfect time to conduct a comprehensive review of our finances. This year-end checklist will guide you through essential steps to ensure that your finances are in order as you embrace the opportunities and challenges that the new year may bring.

1. Review Your Budget

Begin by looking over your budget. Is it serving your financial goals effectively, or do certain spending categories need adjustment? Take the time to analyze and, if necessary, revise your budget to align with your evolving financial priorities.

2. Top Off Your Retirement Plan

For those with a 401(k), ensure you are maximizing the benefits of your employers’ matching contributions. If you have not contributed as much as you can, you have until the end of the year to catch up, to a limit of $19,500.  If you have an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), you have until April 15th to scrape together the maximum contribution of $6,000, with an additional $1,000 if you are 50 years or older. 

3. Check Your Progress on Paying Down Debt

Compare your current outstanding debt from one year ago and hold up the amounts against what you now owe. Have you shed any debt from one year ago, or is your debt growing? If you have not made any progress, or your debt has deepened, consider taking bigger steps toward paying it down in the new year.

Explore the financial education portal, LearningLab+, provided by our partner GreenPath Financial Wellness. This platform offers a comprehensive library of courses, guides, and other resources designed to enhance your financial well-being. Consider leveraging these resources to gain insights and develop strategies for effectively managing and reducing your debt.

4. Get a Free Copy of Your Annual Credit Report

The end of the year is a great time for an annual credit checkup. You can only request a free copy of your credit report from all three credit reporting agencies once a year. Get your annual credit report here, and look for fraudulent charges and other signs of possible identity theft.  

5. Review Your Investments and Asset Allocation

Review your investment portfolio to ensure it aligns with your financial objectives and reflects the current economic and market conditions. Adjust your mix of stocks, bonds, and other investments as needed to optimize your portfolio’s performance.

If you require assistance in reviewing your investments, consider scheduling an appointment with our wealth advisor, Mikael Hallstrom. With expertise in navigating diverse investment scenarios, Mikael can provide valuable insights and guidance tailored to your specific needs, no matter the complexity of your investment situation.

6. Review Your Beneficiaries

Has your family’s situation changed during the past year? If it has, be sure to switch or edit the beneficiaries on your accounts in My Info via mobile banking and life insurance policies to reflect these changes.

Updating Beneficiary’s Information:

  1. Login to our mobile app.
  2. Select More at the bottom right of the screen.
  3. Select My Info under the Account Management & More
  4. Select Beneficiary’s Information and tap the box under Email, Cell Phone, or Home Phone to start typing.
  5. Enter the new contact details, then select Update.

This ensures that your assets are distributed in accordance with your current wishes. Regularly reviewing and updating beneficiary information is a proactive step in maintaining the accuracy of your financial arrangements.

7. Review Your Tax Withholdings

Take a close look at your W-4 to determine if the amount of tax withheld from each paycheck requires adjustment. If deciphering tax-related details is not your forte, seek assistance from your accountant to ensure that your withholdings align with your tax liability.


By diligently completing this year-end financial checklist, you will position yourself for a financially sound and prosperous start to the new year. May the coming year bring you fiscal health, stability, and success in all your financial endeavors.

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