What I am personally doing to review my finances for 2022
Whilst new years resolutions may be cliche, I can’t help but love the start of a new year to plan ahead and set myself up for what’s to come. I am however a planner by profession and nature, so it’s probably a good trait to have.
One of the main reasons however that I think the end of the year/start of a new year is a great time to reassess is that most people tend to have a little time off to sit back and reflect.
This post isn’t about “new year, new me”. It’s about making sure your overall financial plan is on track, and making some strategic decisions for the year ahead. So here’s the 6 things I’ll personally be doing before the start of 2022:
1) Review my plans for the year and consider how much they will cost. More specifically, what am I planning on doing in 2022 that is out of the ordinary? It could be travel, minor or major renovations to your house, you may need a new car or it might be the year that your kids start school. All of these are pretty major changes, so it’s important to understand the lay of the land. All of the above will have financial implications, so you want to know what they are going to cost and when those costs are payable.
As a rule of thumb, anything that is going to cost more than $5,000 should be noted and planned for.
For us, given we haven’t been able to travel for a few years, we definitely want to do some interstate travel to visit the family, but we are also talking about an international holiday later in the year (travel permitting of course). We already set aside money for travel, so that is taken care of, but for anything else we would need to review.
2) Review our normal spending plan and make sure it still meets our needs. We tend to review this every 6 months, so it lines up perfectly with the start of the year. A couple of questions to ask yourself:
– Has there been any changes to normal costs? ie, increased fees etc.
– Does the current spending plan still suit your needs. Do you need to increase or decrease any areas?
– Do I want to decrease or increase any areas? This relates more to discretionary spending areas as we have most control over these.
Once we’ve decided on the above, we will then go and adjust all of our automatic direct debits, which help to facilitate the plan. There is no point in writing a plan if you don’t follow through. Automating this makes life easy.
3) Review our additional superannuation contributions. Each year, we review the contributions that we are making and increase where possible. Given the contribution threshold increased in July 2021, it’s a perfect time to review your superannuation (or salary sacrifice) contributions. This helps to reduce our tax in the new year, which is always something we are keen to do.
4) Review our ongoing investment portfolio contributions. We make monthly contributions to our diversified investment portfolio, and again it’s worth reviewing to determine if we want to increase this. As we have already reviewed our spending plan in point 2 above, we know how much additional funds we have to put towards investments. This is where we decide how much additional to contribute for the year ahead.
5) Review our personal insurances. The amount of insurance that you need is not set and forget. Over time, you may need to increase or decrease your various life insurances. For example, if you have had a pay rise in the last 6 months, you may need to address your income protection insurance to reflect the pay increase. This doesn’t automatically happen for you, so making sure you are up to date, is good practice. Additionally if you have paid out a home loan for example, you may be looking to reduce some of your life insurance down. This is very individual based on your personal circumstances.
6) Review our Home Loan and Investment Property loans. We like to regularly review our loans to make sure that they are meeting our needs and keeping pace with the market. We use a mortgage broker for this, but the annual reminder just makes sure we are not paying more than we should be.
This isn’t just about the interest rates though, we consider the structure of these loans, the projected time frames, the additional repayments and the tax benefits.
If you have some down time this year and want to get a head start on the year ahead, take yourself through the 6 steps above to start the year off strong.
If you want us to help you with it, then reach out. We love planning out the year for you and making sure all of the aspects of your financial life are taken care of.