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2022 Personal Finance - What Action Steps Have You Taken?

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  • 2022 Personal Finance - What Action Steps Have You Taken?

    What have been your first action steps of the new year to attend to your personal finances?

    Monitoring: We completed our year-end net worth statement to get a measurement of our overall financial situation and compare to a year ago. DH finalized the 2021 income statement for his business.

    Insuring: I followed up to make sure we had the extended warranty for our new home in place and got a copy of the certificate of coverage.

    Earned Income: I have 2 part-time for-pay jobs. For the one I consider my primary job (20 hours a week fixed), I have a schedule, I get in my car & drive to my place of employment, and have pro-rated benefits. My secondary job is work-from-home with flexible hours. I am committed to working at least 20 hours a week at the secondary job when work is available - sometimes there is very little work & sometimes there is a lot. For the past month-plus, there has been way more work than I can handle. I'm striving to find a balance between helping out my secondary employer without throwing my work-life balance out of whack. I'm on track to work 25 hours this week (45 hrs total). So one of my first action steps of the new year is earning a bit of extra income from my secondary job.

    Unearned Income:
    I signed up for a new credit card and earned a $75 "bonus" (gift card that was used immediately).
    I moved some cash that is on standby to pay estimated taxes, fund DH's solo 401k, and purchase furniture from checking to online savings for the higher interest rate. We had been keeping a substantial buffer in checking during our house build. I was a bit slow making the move to online savings after the completion of our house. Ugh. But now I've done it.
    (Most of our unearned income requires no action. We have auto-reinvest with our mutual fund earnings, etc.)

    Spending / Reducing Expenses:
    There are many things we do automatically that are just second nature. But one area where we took some new-to-us action in the last week was running our ceiling fans clockwise on low speed to hopefully help us keep energy costs down during a cold snap.

    Investing: No action steps taken so far this year. My first investment of the year won't require any action on my part; it will happen when my tax-deferred retirement contribution is deducted from my pay on Friday.
    Last edited by scfr; 01-04-2022, 10:25 AM.

  • #2
    I've started working on our 2021 taxes. I reviewed credit card statements and listed transactions that have tax relevance. I did the same for our checking account.

    I tallied up the taxable income generated by our portfolio - interest, dividends, and capital gains. I sent that info to our CPA to find out if we need to make an estimated tax payment to avoid a penalty later. I also sent him a copy of my last pay stub so he could see what I paid in taxes for the year vs. my income.

    I tallied up the non-taxable (tax-sheltered) income generated by our portfolio (401k, t-IRAs, Roths). Although it has no immediate relevance, it's part of my retirement planning. I need to have an idea how much income we can expect from our nest egg once the paychecks stop.

    I did a 12/31/21 final version of our portfolio spreadsheet to see where we ended the year.
    Steve

    * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
    * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
    * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

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    • #3
      Excellent thread.

      We completed a year-end/ net worth statement on New Year's Eve day, as well as went through the household budget based on actual spend. We compared that to the year previous and also looked at the future with regards to upcoming expenses and potentials. I feel a lot more confident and grounded now, since we've only had one income for a couple of months and I don't know how much longer it will be before I'm employed again. I really needed to see it on paper and the end result is we're OK. That's a good way to start off my financial goals for the year, giving me the breathing room I need to pull myself up again. It's been a crappy year--yet we are still pulling ahead.

      My retirement allocation was a mess and I've been working through a few rollovers, reallocations in the last couple of days. It had been a while since I looked at it--a big screw up, on my part, but doing it now is still better than later. Things weren't bad, just not where they should be, like a 401k with an ex-employer still parked in a target-date fund---blah! It's now rolled into my IRA and reallocated to my index funds which are doing a lot better.

      I've submitted a few applications and snagged an interview. My biggest concern is I'm not putting away for retirement right now and I want to feel like I'm pulling my weight again--my next goal is to get another paycheck rolling in the door!

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by ua_guy View Post
        went through the household budget based on actual spend. We compared that to the year previous and also looked at the future with regards to upcoming expenses and potentials.
        Yes, I did the same. Forgot to list that. 2021 was a particularly expensive year for us. But when I backed out a large one time expense (estate lawyer) it was much closer to normal. And when I backed out a costly home repair, it actually took us to a bit less than 2019. So except for those two one-off things, we're not yet back to pre-pandemic spending, which doesn't surprise me at all. We did a bit of travel in 2021 but not nearly as much as normal. Same for dining out.
        Steve

        * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
        * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
        * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

        Comment


        • #5
          • I fully funded backdoor Roth IRA for 2022 ($6,000).
          • I bought $7,000 in I Bonds in December (interest around 7%) just to have some diversification and hedge against inflation.
          • I'm starting to max out my HSA again and 401(k) as well for 2022.
          • Starting to maxing out contributions to our company's bi-annual ESPP which provides at least a 15% return on investment (if you sell immediately).
          • Finally, meeting with senior manager to explain why I should be given a large raise.
          One mistake I made is I didn't sell my RSUs during the grace period due to sheer greed on my part. Normally I sell my stock as soon as it vests. Our stock has usually done quite well (always higher after I sell) but it's lost an incredible amount of value so I've lost a few thousands dollars already. I won't make this mistake again.

          I have a large credit balance that was 0% interest for 15 months but is nearing end of grace period, so I've stopped investing in my after-tax accounts and have nearly accumulated enough cash to pay it all off. I'm at no risk of not paying the balance off.

          I'm looking into getting a new CC that has 0% interest for 12+ months or more. This one seems like a great deal at potentially 21 months 0% interest: https://creditcards.wellsfargo.com/c...sa-credit-card.

          Why? I max out my after-tax 401(k) to do Mega backdoor Roth IRA, which is quite expensive as it's all after tax money. It usually means I end up taking home almost nothing for 2/3 of the year, so having the 0% credit card allows me to invest when normally it wouldn't be possible.

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          • #6
            I've run through our 2021 taxes in Turbotax to compare with my spread sheet.

            I have started a new spread sheet for 2022 taxes and updated the new tax brackets and deductions.

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            • #7
              I fully funded my emergency fund. (it took a bit of a hit recently due to some expenses)
              Now I need to figure out what to do with the "extra" money
              Add to mortgage or invest or a combination?
              I'm still running the numbers on it.

              Starting to look at planned 2022 expenses and taxes

              Brian

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              • #8
                I've maintained a spread sheet of all of my expenses (debt and checks) for the last 15 years. While I have done really well on logging each cost, and relatively well at developing an over all budget based on the categories, I have failed tremendously at carefully monitoring my bank account. The monthly statements come in and go into a drawer (well actually a 5" binder) to be forgotten about.

                A couple weeks before Thanksgiving I began going through the bank statements and checking off each item on my spreadsheet. At first I only looked at 2020 & 2021, but then my neuroticism set in and I started with 2005, with my first $500 deposit to checking and began working my way forward. 25,000 purchases later EVERYTHING is balanced to the $0.01 (well minus 2007, those statements were missing).

                While I am not suggesting anyone else should ever consider doing this, it was mildly relaxing for me. I plan on balancing my spreadsheet against each statement going forward.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I just started a new file folder for 2022 taxes. My wife had a procedure yesterday and I had an eye doctor appointment today so had the first receipts of the year to put in there.

                  Turned off dividend and capital gains reinvestment for one of our taxable mutual funds. I really should have done this before but just never did. This year, the fund had a large year-end distribution which we now have to pay taxes on except the money got reinvested so we need to pull funds from elsewhere to pay the tax bill. Since I don't really want more shares of this fund anyway, it makes more sense to stop reinvestment and let them pay out future distributions. At least that way, we'll have those funds to cover taxes.
                  Last edited by disneysteve; 01-05-2022, 03:59 PM.
                  Steve

                  * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                  * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                  * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Very little. I'm finally getting the itch to start looking for a job after leaving my W2 Nov. 12 so I've been whiteboarding, perusing job boards, putting out a few resumes. Most exciting is I hired a resume writer/career coach. I've been out of the job hunting game for so long I don't know how to compete when jobs I'm interested in have hundreds of applicants within days of posting. I'm looking to change industries and need some help selling my transferrable skills. Other than that I'm just closely watching my savings and hoping I land something in time to max my 2021 Roth IRA I feel behind but also have been very careful not to cut short or belittle my need for time to regroup after some extreme burnout.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by disneysteve View Post
                      I just started a new file folder for 2022 taxes.
                      This is an excellent thing to do. I've been doing this for the past couple of years and have found it to be extremely helpful. I just drop any tax related documents in the folder as the year progresses, and then at tax time, I am good to go.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by myrdale View Post

                        This is an excellent thing to do. I've been doing this for the past couple of years and have found it to be extremely helpful. I just drop any tax related documents in the folder as the year progresses, and then at tax time, I am good to go.
                        I do the same, though I actually keep most (all) of it digitally in my Google drive. I have a "Taxes" folder for each tax year that I scan/download everything into. Makes it easy to maintain my tax records, and keeps me from needlessly holding onto a decade's worth of receipts & statements & tax forms.
                        "Praestantia per minutus" ... "Acta non verba"

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                        • #13
                          Completed our 2021 net worth update and started a new spreadsheet to track 2022 investment performance.
                          Started a 2022 taxes folder.
                          Other than that, pretty much on auto pilot.
                          Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons

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                          • #14
                            Today I pulled up the COBRA rates for my job. I'm trying to nail down what our expenses will be when I stop working part time.

                            I just finished converting my hand written ebay sales logs into a spreadsheet for easier number-crunching. I like that a lot better and plan to do it that way going forward. I have no idea why it took me so long to do that. I'm just old-fashioned.
                            Steve

                            * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                            * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                            * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I filed my 4th quarter 2021 state sales tax return today. It's due by the 20th but since I put together all of the ebay figures yesterday I had what I needed.

                              Sales tax has always been a pain but even more so now that ebay collects and submits sales tax for sellers so unless I sell elsewhere (which I don't plan to), I'll never owe sales tax again. Still, I have to keep filing a quarterly return as long as I maintain my business license. Oh well. It only takes a couple of minutes every 3 months so it's not that big of a deal. I wish you could just skip it if you didn't owe anything.
                              Steve

                              * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                              * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                              * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

                              Comment

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