You probably have a ton of stuff on your to-do list right now. But this is also a great — dare we say satisfying? — time to review your finances, take stock of where you are in your career, and make confidence-boosting plans for the year ahead.
So while you’re zooming through your pre-break checklist, consider adding a few of these key money and career check-ins into the mix. Even if you only get to a couple, it might make that upcoming time off feel all the sweeter. Trust us.
Review your spending
Set your financial boundaries for the holiday season.
Are you giving gifts this year? If so, decide how much you want to spend. Which events are most important to you? Have you discussed it with your family yet? With some boundaries up front, you’ll have a promise to yourself to refer to when the holidays inevitably trend toward chaos.
Review your 2022 spending.
Getting a complete picture of your cash (and credit) flow this year can set you up to start 2023 off with both hands on the budget wheel, with an up-to-the-minute handle on what happened. Did your spending increase or decrease? How’s your financial foundation looking? How do you want to tweak your budget for next year? (If you feel like you’ve fallen off a little, some of that is totally out of your control — inflation has practically leveled purchasing power across the board lately.) Bonus points if you can find some underutilized expenses, unwanted subscriptions, etc. to slash in the process!
Check to see if you need to use your FSA/dependent care FSA by the end of the year.
While that money doesn’t usually roll over, this year you may be able to keep up to $570 of your balance into 2023, thanks to all the routine medical catch-up everyone is playing in the years since COVID hit. That rollover max is a bit higher than last year’s limit, but it may vary depending on where you work, so double check with your employer. (If your money doesn’t roll over, there’s always room for a new pair of frames.)
Look up your health insurance deductible.
If you’ve met it this year, congratulations! It’s time for the health care system to work for you for a change. Make some end-of-year appointments — those pricier specialist visits, those little procedures you’ve put off the past few years — and see about stocking up on as many multi-month supplies of your (and your kids’) prescriptions as you can.
Check up on your emergency fund.
This is just a maintenance check — if you dipped into it this year (food and gas prices being what they are) or fell behind on contributions (markets being what they are), making a solid plan to replenish it for 2023 can help you fight any nagging sense that you’re starting off the year in the red.
Prep for tax season
Collect your financial paperwork for tax season.
Bank and credit card statements, statements for your mortgage, student loans, retirement and investment accounts, etc — if you can get it all ready to go in one folder now, you won’t have to go digging around for it come tax time.
Assess any changes to your tax situation.
Did your income change? Did you get a bonus this year? Did you have any stock options vest? If you can set a meeting with your tax advisor before the end of the year, they can help you get your money set for the new year and avoid any last-minute tax surprises in April.
Make contributions to tax-advantaged accounts.
The more you contribute to your traditional 401(k), IRA, and HSA, the more you can reduce the amount of money you’ll ultimately have to pay income taxes on. (This move is especially clutch if you got a pay bump this year.) For your 401(k), you have to contribute by December 31. For the others, you have until April of next year for it to count.
Make your end-of-year donations to charity.
In addition to lowering your taxable income next year, if you itemize, charitable donations are also just nice to add this time of year — you can even make them in someone’s name as a Christmas gift, or as tzedakah for Hanukkah.
Go through the bigger picture stuff
Check in on your 2022 financial goals. Set some new ones for 2023.
What went well? What were the challenges? What will a successful 2023 look like?
Review your beneficiary designations.
Life insurance policies and financial accounts all come with them — do you remember who your beneficiaries are? You might want to check on that, especially if you had a big life event (marriage, kids, divorce, death of a parent, etc) this year. Speaking of milestones …
Adjust tax withholdings and insurance plans to match this year’s milestones.
Did you have a baby in 2022? Adopt a pet? Get a raise or a new job? Buy a home or move to a new place? You may need to adjust tax withholdings and/or quarterly tax payments, purchase more life insurance or disability insurance, update your renter’s insurance plan, buy pet insurance, etc. (Ellevest’s partners Policygenius and Lemonade are here to help with the insurance part.)
Check on your 401(k) contributions.
Contribution limits are going up in 2023, which means that if you’re currently maxing out your 401(k), you’ll need to actively bump those contributions up to keep that going.
Tie up 2022’s loose ends
Use your 2022 PTO — and make some plans for 2023.
If your paid time off doesn’t roll over, the time for that staycation is now. Planning specific time off for the new year will give you something to look forward to past the holidays, too. (Submit the time off request now to ensure you actually take that vacation and don’t back out later. Seriously. We’ll wait!)
Inventory your accomplishments.
2022 was a beast, but you made it through — and now you owe it to yourself to see how far you’ve come. Bonus: This will help with your resume refresh and performance review prep (see below). Aaaaannd you can use our Career Checkup Worksheet to help, too.
Gather feedback from trusted sources.
Don’t stop with your own reflections. Ask mentors, bosses, colleagues, friends — what growth did they observe in you this year? How can you continue to grow as you move forward? What do they recommend you read, do, consider, or meet?
Update your resume and LinkedIn profile.
An outdated portfolio might cost you a great new opportunity! Treat your resume and LinkedIn like you would any other routine check-up (smoke detector batteries, your annual physical, etc) and update them regularly. Bonus: When it’s part of your year-end routine, you’ll have all your key accomplishments handy if (when) a new opportunity comes your way. If you need some ideas on how to spruce yours up, not to worry — we’ve got a few.
Declutter your office/desk.
Organize files and documents, clean up your email inbox (inbox zero, anyone?), update your email signature and out-of-office message(s) — anything that’ll make coming back to work feel a little less like returning to the grindstone.
Get ready for the future
Prep for your upcoming performance review.
January is coming — if you updated your LinkedIn, why not also get a head start on annual review season? You’ll be advocating for yourself and clearly defining your value to your organization, and that deserves some prep time.
Start scheming on that promotion or bonus.
Why stop with the performance review? It could be time to ask for more — after all, your company might very well be discussing next year’s budget right now, and speaking up now could get your well-earned recognition on the balance sheet.
Make some plans for professional development.
How do you want to grow as a professional in 2023? Add some opportunities to your calendar to have something to look forward to when you get back from the holiday break. Look into what your employer is willing to pay for — if you do have an annual professional development allowance and you used some of it this year, it might be renewing in January! — and start saving up for the rest.
Tend to your network.
Holiday notes are timeless. (Just ask your mom and her annual family new-year letter.) Drop an email hello to your contacts, set up a coffee date with someone when they might have a little more downtime, make loose plans to catch up in January. And speaking of the new year …
Start setting your 2023 goals!
A SWOT analysis, a Start/Stop/Continue exercise, an intentions moodboard — even just setting up your bullet journal can set a bright tone to help you feel confident and refreshed going into the new year. (And if you just thought to yourself, “wtf is a SWOT analysis?” Check out Ellevest’s four-week career intentions email course — it offers tons of ideas on how to reflect on your recent milestones and strategize on behalf of Future You.)
This is a huge list, we know. But it’s not exhaustive, and it definitely isn’t mandatory — think of it as a bunch of ideas to get you started and feeling good about your money and your career at the end of what was a pretty tumultuous year all around. Whatever you end up getting to, we know it’ll be worth it, and you’ll be that much better off. Here’s to an even more confident you in 2023.
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