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Checking Off My Year-End Financial Bucket List

Odd Cents - Budgeting and Income

Congrats on surviving the year! Before you start planning for the new year, make sure that the items on your year-end financial bucket list are checked off.

It’s the end of the year and I don’t know how it got here so quickly. Thanks to COVID, it feels like the year consisted of January, February, March and then Christmas. April to December was a blur. But seeing that we’re staring a new year in the face, it’s time to get it together very quickly. We have to put things in place to make sure that we start January on the right foot.

I know how new year resolutions go, so I’m skipping that whole process this year. Instead, I’m going to continue doing the things that I have been doing well all year long. I was pretty consistent with most of my goals and plans and the most I will do is amplify my actions. So for next year, I will continue to use my weekly/ monthly planner; increase how often I write in my journal; and review my vision board daily. Business wise, I want to grow my online business and speed up my transition to full-time entrepreneurship.

Year-End Financial Bucket List

It just feels right to close out the year on a good note. That’s why I have created a year-end financial checklist to make sure that I’m going forward with a clear picture of my finances. This is a practice that has been a bit sporadic and has sometimes consisted of checking my account balances and tallying how much I saved. But this year I want to make a big effort to do a financial spring clean of all of the core areas of my personal finances.

The year-end financial bucket list is a list of things that you want to achieve by the end of the year. This is a list of actionable tasks that will provide insights into how your finances fared over the year. The reason why it should be done at the end of the year, is so that if you uncover anything, you can make changes for the next year’s goals and your strategic plans.

If you are interested in reading about how I will be closing off my personal financial year, take look at my steps below:

1. Reviewing Bank Accounts

I have too many bank accounts and I pay too many monthly service fees. My review of these accounts will be a thorough one that analyses the debits and credits. I want to see how much I saved versus how much I spend and if there are any ways that I can improve my money habits. I’m seriously thinking about putting some money into high interest accounts. These bank fees take up a big chunk of the miniscule interest that the banks throw my way. I may even look to see which of these accounts should be closed permanently.

2. Opening a New Business Bank Account

Yes, I have too many bank accounts, but I need an account for my business. For the last few years, I’ve been lumping business expenses onto my personal credit card. I believe that it’s time to level up and give my business it’s own bank account. Thankfully, I incorporated a company a few years ago and it’s time to get it up and running. My plan is to assess all of the business bank accounts in Barbados and see if I can find one that suits my business needs. This will make it easier to manage the financial aspects of the business next year and beyond.

3. Assessing My Insurance Policies

If you believe that insurance is a scam, please skip this step and go to the next one. One of the things that I am going to do is to take a look at the nitty gritty details of my insurance policies. The aim of this exercise is to ensure that I am getting the best value and the maximum benefits from my policies. I currently pay for life insurance and home insurance out of pocket; and I am also a member in a company insurance plan that covers health and life. In terms of health insurance, I want to add riders that will cover critical illnesses.

4. Counting My Savings

I’ve been saving extra money for the entire year and it’s time to add it all up to see how much I’ve saved. For the past year I have been adding bills and coins (in addition to my usual two dollar bills) to a glass jar on my dresser. I started this process a few years ago, but COVID-19 kicked it into overdrive. Because I am working from home, I am saving  money on gas and completing bypassing those rare occasions where I buy lunch and snacks. The plan is to invest this money in an investment account.

5. Increasing My Retirement Contributions

This is something that completely slipped my mind last year, but I remembered just in time. I signed on to my company’s retirement plan when I joined the company a few years. At the time, I opted in for one of the lower contribution levels just so that I could have more money in my hand. But now that retirement is staring me in the face, I am going to take the risk and increase my contributions to the fund. The good news is that the company will match what I contribute, which will increase the value of my fund very quickly.

6. Researching Personal Finance Courses

Another item on my year-end financial bucket list is to start researching personal finance courses. This is something that I have been researching for a long time, but now it’s time to act. I found a couple courses earlier in the year, but they were a bit pricey. My company will pay for courses if they will help me on the job. My plan is to pursue courses that will lead to a personal finance designation. Even if I have to pay for one course, the aim is to maximise the education benefit offered by the company. This will be beneficial to this blog and my future career plans.

7. Automating Finances

Most of my bills are paid online, but I have lagged on automating my savings. A few months ago I attempted to add funds to my investment account. But because of COVID, the company was no longer accepting face-to-face deposits. When that happened, I should have gone online and set up an automatic withdrawal immediately. However, I researched the process and I can set up the automatic transfer from my bank account on my own. My plan is to get this sorted prior to year end so that I can actively contribute to my investment account.

8. Creating a Financial Plan

This is probably the most important item on my last-lap financial list. I want to create a smart financial plan for next year. There are lots of large expenses on my to-do list and  I need to have a plan in place. The aim is to decide how I will pay for these expenses without hurting my expenses. The options that I have in mind are to take on some writing jobs; apply for research consultancies; and take out a loan. I’m definitely not in favour of adding debt to my life, especially now that I’m in retirement mode.

Spending an hour or two on your year-end bucket list is one of the best things that you can do for your money. It will make you feel as though you’re in control of your finances. When you’ve completed the exercise, you should be in a position where you have a good grasp of all that you have accomplished financially, and thus can make sound plans and movements in the new year and the coming months.