After the whirlwind of the holiday season, it’s not unusual to come into the new year with a bit of a spending hangover. Many of us can easily get caught up in the fever of buying, celebrating, and going out. The effects of this on one’s bank account can be especially sobering when it’s time to balance the checkbook or review our credit card statements. And if you own your own business, it can be all the more frustrating. Rather than digging a hole to hide in, or wringing your hands in despair, try formulating a plan to hit the ground running so you can make 2017 your best financial year yet. You might even be able to avoid a spending hangover this time next year.
Start the year off right with getting a solid financial plan in order. If you can, sit down with a professional. They will be able to help you determine specific goals and ideas for the coming year. It’s best to create a plan that you can apply to your personal life as well as your business model. It’s also important to be candid about your current financial situation, and be prepared for advice you might not necessarily want to hear.
January’s arrival means it’s time to start gathering all of our tax documents for preparation. If you own your own business, you will need to go through the annual motions of preparing documentation for the upcoming tax season. As an employee or independent contractor, you should start early in organizing your tax information. Do consider working with an accountant to give you a leg up on preparing your taxes. Working with a pro helps you find the best and most financially sound way of submitting your tax information. And remember, it’s always better to file sooner rather than later. You can at least check out W-2 software or 1099 software for some help in this department.
It’s never too early to start saving for retirement, and if you don’t currently have a plan in place, there is no time like the present. (Typically this topic is of the utmost importance when working with a financial planner.) And if you’re a business owner, you should make a savings plan a top priority - building your wealth is just as important as building your business. You might not be able to have a matching retirement package, but you can still work toward saving for the future.
Managing debt is almost as important as saving. Debt, and too much of it, can inhibit you from having decent savings and can adversely affect a business, so make an effort to eliminate any debt as best you can. Whether it’s through cutting back on spending or applying for debt relief (for small businesses) look for ways to address and limit your debt.
Whether it’s on your own, with a financial planner, through an online service or all of the above, it’s important to have a budget that you can adhere to. Depending on your needs (both personal and professional) for the coming year, you might have to enact some austerity measures, or you might need to adjust where your money is going. Keeping a budget gives you more control of your money and your financial situation.
Julie Morris is a life and career coach. She thrives on helping others live their best lives.
Photo by Death To The Stock Photo