6 Non-Awkward Money Talks to Schedule for January
New year, new you, no debt
Let’s start with a brief ode to January: After an over-scheduled holiday season, the month arrives like a peaceful antidote, a chance to get our collective sh** together before the rush of 2016 hits hard. Add a few key financial talks to the agenda and it’s also your chance to save big (and prosper) in the New Year. Here, a few conversations to put on your calendar.
Talk Taxes with Your Accountant
It might feel like a long way off, but April is coming. Avoid being a last-minute lady by scheduling a meeting with Mort the accountant now (or fire up TurboTax, whichever you prefer). Your early-bird status will give you extra time to track down paperwork from employers and just might help you save more cash in the long run. (Mort is much more meticulous about researching tax breaks and itemizing receipts when he’s not rushing, right?)
Talk 2016 Goals with Your Boss
Most offices are a total blur in December (that holiday party…oy), making January the perfect time to nab 30 minutes on your boss’s calendar to discuss priorities and big-picture objectives for the year ahead. Just be clear about your intentions when you email, and don’t forget to come prepared. (Notes about past performance and future areas of interest that align with company goals never hurt.)
Talk Short-Term Savings (and Vacation Plans) with Your S.O.
Look, you both want to go to Provence this year, but if you don’t start planning now, it’ll be a repeat of 2015, with unspent vacation days haunting your dreams. Arrange a convo with your honey now to figure out timing, expectations and realistic cost, and then get to work saving up for the big trip. (We’re fans of a joint account that both people use to save a small portion of monthly earnings.)
Talk Long-Term Savings with Your Financial Planner
A lot of raises (and bonuses) come through at the end of the year, making now the perfect time to reassess strategic savings and investments--like your kid’s college fund and your retirement accounts. An expert can help you realistically look at your future and reallocate money so that you stay on track. (Can’t afford a planner? Check with your employer to see what free resources it provides.)
Talk Monthly Bills with Your Cable Provider
Repeat after us: You can negotiate a better rate. But before you get the dreaded cable company on the phone, do your homework and find out what promotions they’re offering for 2016. For example, a quick search on the Time Warner website led us to find a monthly deal that’s $25 less than we’re currently paying for Internet and TV. Use that info as your bargaining chip. You’re a loyal customer, after all.
Talk “New Year, New You” Rates with Your Gym
Fitness clubs are notorious for dropping their prices in January. If you’re looking to join, now is the perfect time. Gyms are under pressure to attract new members, and they’ll do almost anything to lock you in at a seriously discounted rate. But if you’re already a member, don’t assume there’s nothing you can do--managers have more wiggle room at the start of a new year. So go ahead: Lace up those sneakers and speak your mind.