Welcome to 2023! I hope that the end of last year and the beginning of this year was enjoyable for you all. In the Mid-Atlantic region, we were delighted to get some warmer weather just in time for the New Year. It was a pleasant change from the bitterly cold temperatures we had during Christmas weekend. As the clock switched from 2022 to 2023, there were many things to celebrate and appreciate: I count all of you, dear readers, as blessings.
To start your financial year right, here are a few things that you can prioritize for January. It’s early enough to get a great headstart on a lot of tasks that can feel overwhelming once the calmness of the holiday break transitions back to business as usual.
- Continue refining your financial vision and commit to eliminating any habits that don’t serve your financial health. I’d advise you reject the New Year resolution mentality (unless it works for you: in that case, do it!) If resolutions haven’t been successful for you in the past, it’s time to try something different. Instead of coming up with a large, dramatic change for the year, why not just spend a little time refining your vision for the year (I discuss this vision in December’s financial health recommendations). Even if you did a great job of creating your financial vision last year, or in other years past, it’s still a good exercise to review what’s working, see what isn’t working for you, and make sure what you’re currently doing is putting you on the path to what you desire. If you identify any sabotaging activities or habits, commit to eliminating the one that is easiest to drop. If you focus on dropping a simple but damaging habit, then you can get a quick “win” that gives you the momentum to take on bigger challenges as they arise.
- Download a tax calendar and start putting the dates on your digital and paper calendars now. It’s so easy to pull up the calendars, print them, and forget them. Don’t do that! You can find IRS’s calendar here. You can find additional federal tax calendars for specific professions and businesses here, and you can search for “tax calendar” on your respective state and local websites to see additional dates that need to be recorded on your business and personal calendars. If you pay a financial consultant, accountant, or tax preparation service to manage your numbers, you can help them to help you, by knowing when certain payments or forms are due to be submitted. Little known fact: one of the penalties that IRS regularly enforces is failure to file timely, and it is one of their heaviest (non-criminal) penalties. You can avoid it just by keeping up with the dates!
- Pay your last estimated tax payment for tax year 2022. This payment is due to be submitted by January 17 this year. Use Form 1040-ES to submit it. If you had a particularly successful final quarter of 2022, consider adding a little more money to your payment, to help prevent underpayment penalties.
Those are the three tips for January, just in time to help you all hit the ground running! Have a great day, and I’ll talk to you all soon.