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12-step financial plan to making 2013 your best money year yet

By December 10, 2012May 24th, 2018No Comments

If getting your finances in order next year is a key priority (and let’s face it, it should be for all of us), check out this 12-step financial plan to making 2013 your best money year yet.

#1: January – Reconsider your financial goals
Set goals with fixed timeframes. Studies show that those of us with clear cut goals far outperform those who don’t set a time limit. So, sit down and make a list of the assets you want to have by January 2014 and how you’re going to achieve those benchmarks.

Ask yourself:

  • Do you have an emergency fund in place just in case?
  • Are you saving an adequate amount for retirement?
  • Does your budget cover your costs?
  • Do you have bad spending habits?
  • What is your investment objective for the year?

#2: February – Recalculate your retirement needs
You need to update your retirement outlook on an annual basis. If you don’t, you may find you don’t have enough to retire in the lifestyle you’ve become accustomed to. So do the sums and make sure you’re realistic about the amount of money you’ll need to save and make via your investment portfolio.

#3: March – Check your benefits
Does your insurance and medical scheme offer you what you need? Are you covered for any eventuality?

#4: April – Refocus your portfolio
Before jumping into investments, make sure you have three to six months salary stashed away for a rainy day. Once this is done, you can invest without stressing that you won’t have money to handle life’s bumps in the road.

#5: May – Save on tax

Phone up your tax-specialist and make an appointment with him or her. Find out if you’re maximising your tax savings for the year. Many of us, for example, simply don’t claim for enough (or if we do, we claim for it incorrectly) and end up flushing thousands in hard-earned cash down the SARS drain. Remember, come May the next season of tax filing is just around the corner so get your act together before you find that you can only get an appointment again in 2014.

#6: June – Look at the advantages of Trusts
Most people think that Trusts are only for the ‘super-wealthy’. But whether you’re sitting with millions in the bank or not – here are seven reasons why you need a Trust – today!

1. To protect your assets from creditors in the event of your insolvency, disability or divorce.
2. To legally pay as little tax as possible.
3. To ensure your estate is passed on to your beneficiaries as smoothly as possible.
4. To maximise your profits when buying property and significantly reduce your CGT and estate duty bill.
5. To avoid all inheritance tax liability.
6. To create personal confidentiality.
7. To safeguard against financial loss in your own business.

#7: July – Give your portfolio another look
Market conditions vary all the time and they may have caused your asset weightings to be out of sync with general trends. So sit down and rebalance your asset allocation model – ensuring that all your investment tie back to your primary goal you set at the beginning of January.

#8: August – Check your coverage
You should check your short-term policies (like homeowner and vehicle insurance) at least once a year.

Cars, for example, depreciate in value so check that you aren’t paying too much to insure your wheels. Similarly, technical gadgets are worth less the older they get. By re-evaluating your cover you could cut down substantially on insurance fees. And don’t forget to remove any insured items that you no longer own.

#9: September – Re-evaluate your estate
Estate planning isn’t just about saving on tax, it’s about ensuring the future of the one’s you love.

So this month, update your will. Check your beneficiaries and make sure you look after your loved ones when you’re no longer hear to do it yourself.

#10: October – Check your savings
Start early. If you plan to save for a new car or another property, make sure you’re saving consistently every month. If not, now is the time to sort your expenses out and readjust your budget accordingly.

#11: November – Make sure you know what you’re spending your money on
One of the best money moves you can make every year is to know exactly where you’re going. So this month, do an account audit by checking your last 12 month’s worth of bank statements to ensure you aren’t wasting cash on something you’re not using.

#12: December – What did you learn this year?
Do you need to make any legal changes to your policies or will as a result of death, divorce, marriage or the birth of a new beneficiary? Now’s the time to do it so that you’re up to date when the new year starts.

Hope this helps you get your finances sorted out so that you’re ready to roll when 2013 rolls in.

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