We’re coasting into the end of the year, and it seems like once we start seeing pumpkins everywhere, the year is practically done. With all the planning and busyness, end of year events and travel to see family, it can leave us at the door of the new year feeling less than prepared.

But there are three simple steps to take over the next few weeks that can leave you in a better position with your finances as you begin the new year. Each of these steps takes less than an hour to accomplish, and your 2022 version of yourself will thank your 2021 version of yourself for having spent that time to get the turn of the year off on the right foot. 

  1. Important Documents

Do you have your social security card, birth certificate, passport and other important identity items all together? Do you know where your closing documents are on your house? What about the title of your car? 30% of Americans confess that they don’t have their important documents pulled together and may have lost some of them. Take some time to gather up these documents for you and each member of your family. The physical documents can be stored in a fire safe in your home, or you may choose to have some of these documents in a safe deposit box at your local bank. Digital records in password-protected cloud servers can also help you have immediate access to your records.

The FDIC recommends having the following documents and information readily available:

Identification Documents, such as birth/adoption certificate, marriage license, will, power of attorney, etc.

Tax Documents, including previous year’s tax return and personal property tax statements

Financial Accounts, such as checking and savings account information, investments

Income Sources, including recent pay stubs, child support information, rewards accounts for travel 

Financial Obligations, like your mortgage, car payments, utility bills, and students loans

Car and Home Insurance Policies

Medical Information, including your health share ID and Membership Guidelines, immunization records, prescription records, living will, and dental records

Military Documents if a member of the military

You should also consider having your social media accounts, with usernames and passwords available to a trusted family member or friend.

  1. Budget

‘Tis the season of spending, with holidays fast approaching. The average American spends about $1000 on holiday gifts. Even with the best intentions, holiday spending can easily zip past what you thought it would. Go into the gift-buying season with a plan in place. And in general, the end of the year can often bring expenses that you forgot would be coming, like property tax, deposits for education, and financial contributions to 401Ks and the like. While most of us think about setting up a budget for the year at the beginning of the year, mix it up this time. Be preemptive instead of reactive. Sit down with your financial records and determine what makes sense on your holiday spending this year. And put together a budget plan set to kick off in ‘22, so that you can begin practicing what that budget will look like right now. By the time the new year clicks onto the calendar, you’ll be in the habit of looking at your finances through your new budget eyes. 

  1. Healthcare

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans spend 8.1% of their incomes on healthcare. To put it into technical terms…that’s a lot. A lot. It’s especially a lot when you consider that a majority of Americans say that they are dissatisfied with their healthcare, even though we spend more per individual than in any other country. As you’re taking some time to gather your important documents and to consider your budget for the upcoming year, also take a look at better alternatives to your healthcare. If you’re already a Member of Altrua HealthShare, you already know the affordability and top-quality care that a health share caring ministry can bring you. If you aren’t yet part of Altrua HealthShare, schedule a call to see if it could be the right fit for you and your family. There is a 30-day trial period, so you can give Altrua HealthShare a try. At the end of 30 days, you can receive your first month’s contribution back if it’s not the right option for you. 

And in reviewing your healthcare, remember that if you’re a Member of Altrua HealthShare and you refer a friend to the Membership, you could be eligible for each of you to receive up to $100!

Yes, 2022 will be here before you know it. But knowing where your important documents are, having a budget in place before the year even starts, and making informed and more affordable choices when it comes to your healthcare for the year can help make 2022 a powerful year of growth and change for you and your family.

Interview Links:

  • https://www.smead.com/Director.asp?NodeID=1705
  • https://www.fdic.gov/news/events/affordable/hcachecklist.pdf
  • https://www.bls.gov/opub/btn/volume-9/how-have-healthcare-expenditures-changed-evidence-from-the-consumer-expenditure-surveys.htm#:~:text=Evidence%20from%20the%20Consumer%20Expenditure%20Surveys&text=In%202018%2C%20U.S.%20households%20allocated,from%205.9%20percent%20in%202004.
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2071992/#:~:text=The%20United%20States%20is%20the,an%20international%20survey%20has%20found.&text=Just%2016%25%20of%20respondents%20in,needed%20to%20be%20rebuilt%20completely