There’s a reason why we make resolutions at New Year’s: Studies have shown we are more likely to tackle our goals if they’re tied to important temporal milestones. Behavioral economists call this the “fresh start effect,” and we can use this to our advantage to motivate ourselves to tackle our financial to-do list in the New Year.
Here are some smart money moves for you to make in January.
Max out your Thrift Savings Plan or 401(k) contribution: Are you getting a raise? Consider upping your contribution to your employer’s retirement plan. The new IRS contribution limit for 2022 is $20,500, with a $27,000 limit for those 50 and over.
[MOAA CALCULATOR: Roth 401(k) vs. Traditional 401(k)]
Think about opening a Roth IRA: If you’re already contributing enough to your workplace retirement plan to get the employer match, you might consider opening a Roth IRA account (if you’re eligible) to give you future tax planning flexibility.
Get ready for tax season: Soon W2s, 1099-R, and other tax forms will be arriving in the mail. Set aside a place to gather these documents so you can be prepared when it comes time to file your taxes. It’s a good idea to have a list of the documents you’ll need and check them off as they arrive so you won’t be scrambling to find them at the last minute.
Reassess insurance policies: Do you have the proper amount of life, home, and auto insurance? When did you last check how much coverage you had? And when did you last shop around to see if you are getting the best possible rates?
Check your credit report: The holiday shopping season also brings about a rise in identity theft and fraud. You should check your credit report several times a year, but especially after the holidays. Federal law allows you to get a free credit report every 12 months from each of the three credit bureaus, but Equifax, Experian, and Transunion are offering free weekly online reports through April 2022.
Rebalance your portfolio: Now that you’ve upped your contribution to your workplace retirement account and possibly opened an IRA, it’s time to take a look at your accounts and see what you have been investing in. Maybe you never switched out of the G fund in the Thrift Savings Plan, or perhaps you have been put into a default fund at your job that isn’t appropriate for your investing needs. Or maybe your stock and bond allocation has gotten out of whack over the past year – regardless of your situation, take this time to make sure your investments match your financial goals.