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Planning is essential for success. Thomas Edison once said, “Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning.” Abraham Lincoln put it like this: “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” 

As we approach the end of the year, preparation is the key to crushing your financial goals. Little adjustments at the beginning and end of each year can make a big difference in shaping your financial future!

So, this blog includes a year end financial checklist with 8 steps you can take to prepare:

  • Review Your Financial Plan & Budget
  • Manage Your Cash 
  • Have a Plan for Creating Passive Income in Two Categories 
  • Review Your Tax Plan
  •  Review Your Insurance
  • Check Your Employee Benefits
  • Align Your Investments With Your Beliefs 
  • Dream for Next Year

Keep scrolling to learn more about each one of these points in depth, and click here to register for our free webinar “Year End Financial Checklist” on December 19th at 4:00pm MT. All registrants receive a video replay!

year end financial checklist

Year End Financial Checklist: 8 Tips to Finish Strong

1. Review Your Financial Plan & Budget

As you sit down to review your financial year, what went right? What went wrong? Did you progress toward the goals you set at the beginning of the year? Pull out your budget and current financial plan. Look at your bank statements and be honest with yourself about any adjustments that you need to make. 

For example, if you went over your food budget every month, you may want to tweak your budget allocation for that category. If you didn’t save or invest as much as you had hoped, revisit your financial plan and consider automating more savings and investments next year.

2. Manage Your Cash 

Many people think holding onto cash is safer than investing, but that is rarely true. If you are not earning interest on your money, inflation takes a bite of your savings each year. Consider moving your cash into a CD or high-yield savings account (some give as high as a 5% return!)

3. Have a Plan for Creating Passive Income in Two Categories 

To really build wealth, you need to know how to invest in at least two categories of passive income. Here are the six primary categories:

1. Rent from Real Estate

2. Dividends from Stocks 

3. Profits from a Business (Not a Salary)

4. Interest in Stocks and Bonds

5. Royalties from Intellectual Property

6. Royalties from Oil and Gas

To learn more about these six forms of passive income, check out this blog.

4. Review Your Tax Plan

Even though you have some time before the tax deadline, it is helpful to start preparing now! Did you experience major life changes (marriage, births, deaths, retirement) in the last year that could affect your tax withholding status? 

When considering your game plan for next year, there are several tax-advantaged strategies you can implement to save big and maximize your earnings. For example, real estate investors can reduce their taxable income through depreciation. Owning a business provides significant tax advantages, too, including the ability to deduct business expenses. Certain business structures, like pass-through entities, allow business owners to report profits and losses on their personal tax returns, potentially leading to lower tax rates compared to traditional corporate taxation.

year end financial checklist

5. Review Your Insurance

Review your deductibles and premiums, and check if you have enough coverage. Schedule a call with your agent(s) if necessary, and renew your policies if you are not enrolled in auto-renew. Be sure to add all of your insurance policies to your year end financial checklist, from home insurance to car insurance.

6. Check Your Employee Benefits

Pay attention to your employee benefits! Review your package to ensure it meets your current needs. If necessary, make adjustments during open enrollment and optimize your benefits for the upcoming year. If your company has the option to match contributions to an IRA or 401k, consider maxing them out.

7. Align Your Investments With Your Beliefs 

As you evaluate your financial situation, it is a great time to go through your investment portfolio with a faith filter. Invest with pro-values and biblically responsible ethics. Though you probably can’t change all of your investments overnight, learning how to align your investment strategy with your Christian beliefs is a great goal for the new year. WealthBuilders Investments is a great resource for this research. You can learn more, sign up for their free webinars, and get a Pro-Values investing guide here.

8. Dream for Next Year

Finally, take a moment to dream about the upcoming year. Here are some guideposts to help you with this step on your year end financial checklist:

  • Think about your financial situation this time next year. What needs to happen for you to be happy with your progress? 
  • Pray about the direction God wants to lead you in financially. (If you are married, do this with your spouse!) 
  • Seek wisdom and clarity about potential leaps in investing or business ventures. Whether it is taking bold steps or embracing a season of pause, invite God into your financial planning for guidance.
  • Pursue learning opportunities with other believers who share similar goals.

To help you with that last point, join us for a free webinar, “Year-End Financial Checklist,” on December 19th at 4:00pm MT. The WealthBuilders Coaches will help you discover key steps to ensure your finances are ready for the new year. Learn about budgeting, tax planning, investments, and everything you need to organize your financial life. Click the link below to join us and start 2024 on a strong financial footing!

Register for the free webinar: https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_GMZm8OrcQju8zkx-y4-pqg#/registration