In addition to the new year bringing confetti and a fresh calendar, it’s a time to set big money goals for the next 12 months. That might mean finally paying off debt, buying a house or taking a long-delayed vacation.
With inflation and economic uncertainty clouding 2022, shoring up your finances this month can feel even more urgent.
“When you plan to start in the new year or some other important date for you, it can be easier to make that behavioral change, because we feel like we’re making a fresh start,” says Jeremy Burke, a senior economist at the University of Southern California’s Center for Economic and Social Research.
Here are five steps money experts recommend to help you reach your money goals in 2022:
1. GET A CLEAR VIEW OF YOUR FINANCES
“The first step for everybody is to get organized,” says Phuong Luong, a certified financial planner at Saltbox Financial in Massachusetts. That means making a list of your savings, debt and assets. A complete picture of your finances can help you decide what to focus on for the new year, she says, and provide a document that’s easy to update annually.
Luong also suggests tracking your monthly cash flow with a spreadsheet or app to help you answer questions about what mortgage payment you could afford or which expenses you might be able to cut. “If you have those numbers organized, it’s easier to have those conversations, with a professional or with yourself, about what you can actually afford,” she says.