How to Take Back Control of Your December Finances
December is a month of indulgence.
The food, the gifts, the travel, the parties…
Luxury at any cost is not only socially accepted but often expected.
It’s easy to lose sight of important things, like living (and spending) within your means.
So today, we’re going to talk about how to reframe December so you’re not starting off the new year with a red exclamation point next to your bank balance.
Think of this month not as the last bash of 2021 but as a practice run for 2022.
Here are three easy and actionable steps to take control of the holiday season.
No. 1: Budget (No, Seriously)
Make a list of the people you’d like to buy gifts for… and cut it in half. Then, reevaluate the kinds of presents you’re giving.
A meaningful (and financially conscious) gift-giving route is to donate to a charity or organization on someone’s behalf. Determine a set amount per person, and be done with it.
No waiting in line at the mall. No shipping delays. No chip shortages. No return policies to worry about.
And – as a bonus – it’s likely tax-deductible.
If you’re one of those jolly people who need to give everyone something, give something simple like baked goods, flowers or wine.
Remember, you don’t need to reciprocate every gift with an equal or greater one.
No. 2: Mark Your Calendar
Do you know what most people aren’t doing in December? Thinking about January.
Pull up your calendar and get appointments on the book to meet with your financial advisor and accountant early in the new year.
Now is a great time to start compiling bank statements, revisit your assets and investments, and make a list of important year-end documents you’ll need.
These appointments will also help you keep yourself accountable for your spending…
Like how you floss religiously the week before you see the dentist and hope they won’t notice.
No. 3: Rebalance Your Portfolio
Position sizing shouldn’t cross your mind only when you buy a stock. It’s also something you should think about at the end of every year.
Portfolios naturally get out of balance as the market ebbs and flows. But it’s important to revisit them so you can maintain your desired level of risk and diversify your holdings.
Now is the time to take partial profits on your winners so you’re not overweight in those positions.
You can use the funds to double down on some lower-performing investments, or you can establish new positions in other promising plays.
If you have questions, this may also be a good topic to tack on to your meeting with your advisor.
Your Resolutions Start Now
Don’t let December derail the hard work you’ve done this year.
A healthy dose of budgeting and planning will help you hit the ground running on January 1…
While everyone else you know will be digging themselves out of financial regret – or even ruin.