Money Kuel Category Expert: Joy Alford-Brand
Hello, readers! Can you believe it’s July already? Is it me or does it seem like this year is going by a lot faster than the hot mess that was 2020?
Even the smallest relaxation of restrictions has made us all giddy with freedom. Mix in just a little summer vacation excitement and it feels like Christmas morning a little every day.
While I am just as thrilled as everyone else about things slowly getting back to normal, I do think now is a very good time to do a mid-year money makeover. July is a great time to take a few minutes to step back, look at where you are at with your finances, and tweak anything that needs adjusting. To make it easy for you, I’ve compiled a list of things you should check on in order to help give your wallet it’s bikini body for the summer.
“My only request is that you make sure you are at least taking a look at your paycheck numbers.”
1. Take A Look At Your Paycheck Numbers:
First, double check your withholdings and adjust them if you need to. Life happens and things change. So, take a look at your withholdings to see if you are where you will need to be when tax time 2022 rolls around.
I preach all the time that, while you don’t want to have to pay a big tax bill, you shouldn’t be using your tax refund as a savings account because it has a very low rate of return. That’s all fine and good but just remember that you are the boss of you so, do what makes sense to you. My only request is that you make sure you are at least taking a look at your paycheck numbers. It’s critical for a money makeover.
2. Track Hours:
Second, did you know that the SECURE Act of 2019 allows part-time employees to take advantage of their employer sponsored 401(k) plans IF they have worked a minimum of 500 hours per year for three years?
This rule takes effect in 2024 and eligible employers are supposed to start tracking their employees’ hours this year in order get ready for 2024. If you think this applies to you, I suggest asking your employer if they have a 401(k) plan and if so, are they tracking your hours accordingly.
3. Save As Much Money As You Can:
Third, if you are a full-time employee and eligible for your employer’s 401(k) plan, sign up for it – if you haven’t already. Start saving as much as you can. Even a few dollars a month can blossom into a nice nest egg for your retirement. Small actions matter! This is true in every area of your life, especially in your personal finances.
4. Money Payments The Way You Want Them:
Fourth, get ready for your child tax credit payment. This is an important step in one’s money makeover. It will be starting in July and folks who are eligible will want to decide whether they want to receive the monthly payments OR opt out and get a lump sum at tax time. You can do that through the portal that the IRS set up for just this purpose. Head over there and check it out to make sure you are all set up to get your payments the way you want them.
“Worrying about how to afford to give your family a nice holiday takes all the fun out of it.”
5. Stretch The Expense:
Finally, start getting ready for the holidays. I realize that we are still nearly five months away from the holidays but planning and spreading out your shopping and spending just makes it easier. Worrying about how to afford to give your family a nice holiday takes all the fun out of it. If you can get started early and stretch the expense over a few months, you’ll be giving yourself the gift of a stress-free holiday season and that is worth it’s weight in gold, frankincense and myrrh.
A Short List:
Of course, this is just a short list of things you should be thinking about halfway through the year when looking at your money makeover. It would also be a great idea to check on anything else you think is relevant to your financial situation. Again, only you know what your situation is and you are the only one who is concerned about your bottom line. Do yourself a favor and don’t fall asleep at the wheel. Make sure you are taking a peek at your piggy bank once in a while. It’s worth the effort!
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About the Author:
Joy Alford-Brand is an author, public speaker and attorney. She graduated with Bachelor’s Degree in History from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio in 1994 and she received her Juris Doctor from Ohio State University College of Law in 1998. Her main area of practice is Bankruptcy. She is admitted in North Carolina where she lives and works. Joy founded newcashview.com in 2015 as a platform through which she could help others work toward financial freedom and peace of mind! For more information, check out newcashview.com.