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Financial checklist for the new year

2016 has flown by, and 2017 is now only a few days away.  Here at SavingScotts we have compiled a financial checklist to get 2017 off to a flying start. 

The start of a new year provides a great opportunity to assess your financial situation and goals to make effective plans for the new year (and perhaps even some new years resolutions). As with all finances if you are in a serious relationship we recommend that if you have a spouse or partner to work through this checklist together and it is important you are both on the same page about finances (check out our post on money conversations to have with your spouse if your feeling a bit apprehensive about having a joint checklist meeting).

To get your new year off to a great start we have shared some of the key items to include in you financial resolution checklist. To help you on your way we have included a free printable which you can find at the bottom of the post. 

New Year's Financial Resolutions

Assess your current situation. 

Look at how much you have in debt, savings and investments and make a note of it as this is the starting point for your year. It is important to be familiar with your starting point to allow goals to be made and progression to occur. Reflect upon the past year and how your financial situation has changed throughout 2016. A great way to do this is to know your current net worth and where your assets and liabilities are held. This will allow you to compare where you are now to throughout the year. 

Pay down debt 
Paying down debt is key to making financial headway. Credit card and other consumer debt should be highest on your priority list. Look at paying off the debt with the highest interest level first in order to save more money. If you are working on paying off debt have a read of our 5 steps to becoming debt free. 

Check your credit score
Though it is a good idea to check it regularly, now is a great time to check it. We love to use Noddle who provide a free credit check for life. Making sure your credit score is where you need it to be is important when you set your goals for 2017.  For example, you may want to take out a mortgage, but have just discovered your very low credit score, knowing this information will allow you to take steps to amend your credit score and move it in the direction you want it to go. 

Set your goals

Set a few goals (but not too many) to aim for achieving this year. If you have any debt then your focus should be on working to pay of this debt first before any savings goals are set. Whatever your goal is it is important write it down and make realistic steps for achieving that goal. Think about how you will achieve this goal? Will you need to cut spending, do you want to take on a second job, work from home more. There are so many ways that you could achieve goals, so it is important to discuss the how within the making of a plan. 

Perfect that budget

If you already are using a budget then work through how effective it is and if there are any areas that need to be tweaked (especially in light of the goals you have set). If you don't already use a budget then now is a great time to start. Get out a pen and paper and write down your income and expenses for the month. If you prefer an app why not try Dave Ramsey's every dollar or out student budget spreadsheet. What is important is to pick a method, go through your budget monthly and stick to it. 

Be tax efficient.

Tax efficient savings accounts often have a limit of how much can save within a certain period. Whilst in the UK all of this periods are based around the tax year; the new year provides a good opportunity to assess how much you are going to want to use up of those allowances (obviously the optimal option is to max them out, but that can't always be the case). For those in the UK making use of accounts such as ISAs (tax-free savings accounts) especially Help to Buy or the soon to be launched lifetime ISAs where you can receive a 25% bonus on all your savings when used for property. If you are saving for retirement, ensure that make use of the tax relief (for most its 20%) meaning that if you contribute £8000 into your pension, the government will raise it to £10,000. 

How are you preparing for 2017?

Financial Checklist


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