Galvin and Associates

How to Conduct a Personal Yearend Review



The days just before and after January 1 of each year lend themselves to taking a few days to look back on the past year and look forward to the coming year. Many of us have a few days off of work at that time. A brand new year puts some of us in the mindset of making resolutions and setting goals. In many ways, this is a natural planning time. Why not supercharge it? Here are some steps for conducting a yearend review.

What do you want to see happen next year? Either alone or together with your spouse, brainstorm a list of what you want or need. What major purchases will you need to make? What big projects do you want to tackle? What problems do you want to solve? Where do you want to be financially? What else do you want to have happen? Then select from this long list the ones you want to commit to and turn them into written goals for the year.

Bring your home budget up to date. Compare actual spending to the budget you set. Evaluate what went right and what went wrong. With your goals in hand, build your budget for next year. Make the hard decisions here. Repair the car rather than replace it? Put off a major purchase? Count on a “staycation” this summer?

Tax prep
Print any reports you will need for tax season. Gather all of your receipts for donations. Start a file to store all the tax forms that will start rolling in by February. Look up the new IRS mileage reimbursement rate.

Together with your spouse, block out dates next year for projects, trips, holidays, and family commitments. If you are uncertain about exact dates, such as getting approval for specific vacation dates from your employer, block a generous window of time that you can narrow down later.

Credit cards
Make a list of all of your credit cards with the name, number, and customer service telephone number. If your wallet or purse is lost or stolen, you will have all of the information you need at hand to cancel or replace your credit cards.

Photo inventory
Take a phone or digital camera and walk around your house taking photos of what you own for insurance purposes. Open drawers, closets, and boxes. Store the digital photos on your computer or on a CD. It only takes a few minutes. Hopefully you will never have to use it.

Capture all of the steps you took on a checklist that you can use next for your next yearend review. Improve your list each year you use it.

You can block out full days or half days for your yearend review and planning. How much time will you need? Which days will work out best for you this year?

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