Monday Night Finance- Volume 61

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The Only Year-End Financial Checklist You’ll Need to Come Out On Top in 2022

Happy New Year! New Year celebrations are a time for reflection and introspection about how the past year went and what you want the next year to bring. Many of these reflections deal with money. Nearly half of New Year’s resolutions are focused on money. And that’s not a surprise considering that over a third of Americans went into debt this Holiday Season. If you want to improve your money situation in 2022, then this article is for you.

As we close out another year in a pandemic, we may wonder how we should approach 2022. We may be considering a large purchase next year, such as a house. Or maybe we’re really excited about the opportunity to travel internationally without the imminent danger of contracting COVID-19, with all of its mutations and variants (fingers crossed). Whatever your goals may be, starting 2022 off on the RIGHT foot can dictate how the rest of your fiscal year shapes up.

The first step in reaching a new goal is to figure out where you are right now. Bryan of MyFabFinance put together this great checklist to help you take stock of your finances. This starts with a reflection of your past year. Did you have any financial setbacks? Or perhaps the pandemic caused drastic changes in your spending habits. The next step is to review financial decisions that are on autopilot. What does your insurance look like? Does it still meet your needs? How big is your emergency fund? Is your 401(k) set up with the right investments? Finally, the last step is to spend some time with your budget. Need help budgeting? CountAbout can help you set and track a budget.

Choose One! 13 Financial New Year’s Resolutions for 2022

Now that you’ve reviewed your 2021 money situation, it’s time to explore financial resolutions for 2022. If you want your financial resolutions to come true, it’s important to frame them as goals and not aspirations. An aspiration may be to “save more”. A goal will break that down into tangible steps that you need to accomplish. For example, you may want to save $10 more a week towards your emergency fund. If you need some help turning your aspirations into tangible goals, Physician on Fire has a great checklist to get you started.

As another challenging year comes to a close, it’s time to put on your optimism hat and envision a better 2022 in which the pandemic transitions to an endemic. A year in which workplaces begin to resemble a steady state of the new normal and not a single NCAA bowl game is canceled.

Alas, much of this is beyond your control, but there are a number of things that you can control, and choosing at least one of the following 13 ideas below will go a long way toward putting you in a better financial position by this time next year.

Goal #1- check your net worth. If you are a CountAbout user, this should be an easy process since CountAbout automatically updates your net worth each time you log on. If you haven’t calculated your net worth in a while, it’s a useful exercise to sit down and list your assets and your liabilities and see where you are at. It’s also worth examining your portfolio while you are doing this step. Is your portfolio where you want it to be? Is it too risky or too conservative?

Beyond a full accounting of where you are, the next steps on the checklists involve creating more wealth. These include setting savings goals, creating a budget, optimizing your taxes, and coming up with an optimized debt payoff plan. If you’ve accomplished all of these goals, the last step is to evaluate how to give generously to causes you care about.

6 Ways to Avoid Car Repair Debt and Save Money on Repairs

Did you know that 43% of Americans have gone into debt for car repairs? Additionally, 28% of Americans wouldn’t be able to cover a $500 car repair. Given the price of automobiles today, it’s hard to imagine a car repair that would cost less than $500. Does owning a car guarantee that you’ll go into debt when it inevitably breaks down? No! Not if you do some careful planning beforehand.

The good news is, there are a bunch of ways to avoid car repair debt. And if you’ve gone through all the work of getting out of debt with a debt snowball spreadsheet, having a plan for paying for car repairs is a MUST to stay debt free.

Each of these car repair tips require some research and effort, but if you do it right, you can save a bundle on your car expenses.

In this article Mr. Jamie Griffin breaks down everything you need to avoid going into debt for car repairs. The biggest takeaway is that you should plan for car repairs. While you might have a lucky streak where nothing goes wrong, some day you will need to have your car repaired. By thinking about car repairs ahead of time, you can avoid going into debt over car repairs. Thinking ahead of time may involve setting up a sinking fund (where you save money for an eventual car repair) or buying a prepaid maintenance plan or extended warranty. The article also covers how to save money when shopping for car repairs. You may find that trade schools can repair your car much more cheaply than a dealership. Check out the article for even more great tips.