It’s almost the end of February and the new year likely feels a little less new to you now. Financially, you’ve gotten your feet wet in 2016: you’ve received some paychecks and have a couple months’ worth of expenses under your belt. It’s possible that your finances have changed quite a bit since December. This could be due to things like a raise in pay; a change in withholding taxes, health benefit premiums, and other payroll deductions; or an increase in utility rates or other monthly bills.
Now that you have a good idea what your income and expenses will be like for 2016, take some time make a financial plan for the rest of the year.
What do you need to financially plan for this year that you didn’t last year? Are you celebrating a milestone birthday? Planning a large donation? Will there be a new driver in the family that will require changes to insurance – or possibly a new car? Are you planning an expensive trip? With each event like these in 2016, your budget for 2015 becomes less and less applicable.
Also, compare your first pay stub in 2016 to your last stub of 2015. Is your gross pay any different? End-of-year raises; a change in benefits, deductions, or withholdings; and higher taxes can affect how much money you bring home each pay period. If your 2016 paycheck is significantly different than your 2015 paycheck, it’s likely your 2016 budget will need to be significantly different than your 2015 budget.
Additionally, the new year might bring changes to your financial accounts: new contribution limits and tax laws may affect your retirement accounts for example. Review your financial accounts and consider talking with a tax and/or a financial advisor about each one to find out if there are any important changes you need to be aware of.
Even though we’re in a new year doesn’t mean you need to come up with entirely new goals. Perhaps they just need adjustments. Maybe your goal in 2015 was to max out your IRA contributions; new expenses might keep you from doing that this year but you can still make saving for retirement a goal. Of course, brand new goals can be appropriate, too!
Whatever your goals may be, make sure they properly reflect your current financial situation. 2015 may have only been a few months ago, but financially, a lot may have changed since then.
Covenant Trust Company is a financial services company owned by the Evangelical Covenant Church and its affiliates. Our services are available to anyone in need of asset management, retirement planning, legacy planning, gift planning, or trust services. In addition, we seek opportunities to encourage and promote healthy financial habits, and keep a personal finance blog at www.covtrustblog.com.