2023 Financial Checklist: 7 Ways To Jumpstart Your Finances

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Happy New Year!

2023 is here!

You know what this means?

The holiday parties are over, you might have gained some weight, rekindled some friendships, and generally had a great break from life’s daily hassles.

Good for you!

While I do not want to be a damper on things, the New Year also brings a chance to learn from last year’s lessons and make positive changes to your life.

Today, we’ll cover 7 things you can do in the New Year to put yourself on solid financial ground for 2023.

Why is this important?

Starting off the New Year on the right foot can be a game-changer for you and your family.

Now is the perfect time to let go of those past habits that did not help you and adopt some new habits that will benefit you for years to come.

Whether or not you believe in setting New Year’s goals (I prefer “promises” or “intentions”), setting some financial “to do” items will keep you on track, not forget anything important, and promote monetary security.

2023 Financial Resolutions

The reason I like promises or intentions is that the idea is to be clear about your vision for the coming year and commit yourself to achieving the task.

It’s more about a lifestyle change than feeling like you must be perfect. If you veer off-track, don’t get down on yourself and just course-correct! 😊

The 7 things we will discuss can all be started today.

Some literally take a few minutes while others will require some planning and take some time.

Let’s get started!

Gather Receipts For Tax Return Prep

Now that 2023 is upon us so is the start of the tax season.

Take whatever method you have for keeping track of expenses, bank statements, charitable receipts, 1099’s, and W-2’s {i.e. electronically, large envelopes, shoe box (yep, that’s my brother! Lol 😊), or filing cabinet}, and organize your everything.

Keeping your information organized can help you find what you need quickly and easily.

Typically, W2’s and 1099’s forms are mailed out end of January, but if you get everything else organized ahead of time, you’ll be ready to call your accountant as soon as they arrive.

While you are waiting for those forms to come in, check out last year’s return and see if there are any potential tax deductions you need to let your accountant know of (of for you if doing yourself).

If you prepare now versus later in the year, you’ll feel less stressed, more empowered, and can beat everyone else to receiving that tax refund (first in, first out!).

Review Tax Withholdings

Now is also a great time to review your tax withholdings.

If you receive a 4-figure (or more) tax return annually, adjust your withholdings so that more of it enters your pocket each paycheck and NOT Uncle Sam’s.

I don’t know if you realize it, but a tax refund equates to giving Uncle Sam an interest-free loan for a whole year! Seriously…….

Use the IRS’s tax withholding calculator to decide how much you want to be withheld from your take-home pay moving forward.

Update Tax Withholdings

Think of the possibilities with that extra cashflow: you could pay down debt, save more for retirement, save for a house, or take a nice vacation that you promised yourself.

The possibilities are endless!

I talk about cashflow improvement strategies here:

Update Beneficiaries

Whether you apply for life insurance, open a 401K, or even open some non-retirement financial accounts (i.e. bank accounts, brokerage accounts, etc.), you will be asked to designate beneficiaries.

For those that do not know, a beneficiary is the legal person entitled to inherit your assets after your demise.

A lot of times, we ignore reviewing our selections for years. Before you know, dear Aunt Gladys passed away and no backups were identified.

Where will the money go if I pass?

2 words……. Probate Court

Your assets will be tied up in court for months maybe even years while they decide what to do with the money you have left after paying for legal fees (it can be A LOT!).

This can be a huge difference in your estate planning (we will talk more this more later in the article) because most people do not realize something as simple as naming a living beneficiary can have disastrous consequences.

Especially if you had a major life event in the past year (i.e. marriage, had kids, divorce, etc.), it’s important to keep this up to date and only takes a few minutes to do it.

To help keep track of your beneficiaries, write down their names along with the date when the updates were made.

Also name a contingent (backup) beneficiary because, well, you never know what might happen.

Store this document inside the home in a fire-proof box and another copy outside the home (i.e. safe deposit box, trusted relatives, safe at a friend’s house, etc.)

Create / Update Estate Plan

If you think your relatives will amicably split the proceeds of your estate, think again.

When it comes to money and family, unless you specifically say who receives what, all bets are off.

This is why it is SO important to have an estate plan

Many people do not realize that a will does not control who receives your assets when you pass and can be contested in court very easily.

Having an estate plan changes all that.

With an estate plan (including trust AND will), you name people who can have both medical and financial control of you and your assets in case you become capacitated or pass on.

Update Your Estate Plan and How To Do It

It will list anything from who makes medical decisions to the executor of your estate to who will care for your children (including contingents for each).

The best part about this is that it is kept all in one place with copies both you and your attorney will have.

What I like about this is that I do not have keep re-writing the list on my 401K accounts, annuities, bank accounts, life insurance policies, etc.

All I will need to do is state as the beneficiary, “The Living Trust of XXX XXXXX”.

That’s it!

The estate plan does the rest.

Beautiful and easy to setup with an attorney! 😊

Examine Insurance Policies

The main purpose of examining all your insurance policies (home, umbrella, auto, life) is to answer the following questions:

  • Do I have enough coverage?
  • Do I have the right type of coverage?
  • Am I paying the best rate?
  • Are you taking advantage of all the discounts?
  • Are my beneficiaries accurate?

Going through each of your policies will give you a better sense of where your money is going, are you protected enough, and enable you to feel more secure.

Let’s face it, our needs change over time and a periodic review helps level set your coverage.

If looking for a way to save some money (sometimes BIG money), try grouping (bundling) policies under a single provider to obtain a discount.

For example, my home, auto, and umbrella policies are under a single insurance provider, and I save a TON of money (overall about 15%).

I love having $$$ in my pocket and NOT someone else’s. 😊

For auto/home/umbrella, you can try calling around to a few companies and price shop or you can use a service like Get Jerry to help you with it.

I’ve had some friends use the service and they told me it saved them a ton of money…. Check it out.

For my purposes, I need all 3 types (auto/home/umbrella) and Get Jerry does not sell umbrella policies. However, if you do not need an umbrella policy, Get Jerry may be right for you.

If you are looking for an easy way to price shop life insurance, look no further than Policygenius.

I did some price shopping on additional life insurance for my wife, and you can find some sweet deals!

Check Your Credit Report

Why is it important to check your credit report?

Credit score errors are more common than you think. It helps to be proactive because a lot of things in your life are based on your credit score (i.e. insurance rates, interest rates on loans, credit card limits, etc.).

I talk about the impact credit has on your life here:

If you find an error on your credit report, dispute it. Cleaning up errors could potentially save you hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars each year.

You are entitled to 1 free copy of your credit report from each credit bureau (TransUnion, Equifax, or Experian) every year. 

You can go to each credit bureau directly and alternate every 4 months for free copy or use a site like annualcreditreport.com to obtain a free copy.

Plus, budgeting apps like Mint also provide your credit score for free!

How great is that! 😊

Create / Update Your Budget

You were waiting for this one, weren’t you? Lol 😊 ha-ha

If you are an avid reader of my blog, you know that I preach how important creating a budget is to financial success.

If you want to learn more, check out these articles:

If you do not have one, now is a great time to start one.

Make sure to plan for any big expenses for the coming year in the budget (i.e. a big vacation, car purchase, kids need braces, etc.) so there are no “gotcha’s” along the way.

Experiment with different budgeting styles to see what works best for you.

If falling short on cash to meet expenses, consider a side hustle.

I talked about the benefits of side hustling here:

Need some ideas how to get started?

Try Survey Junkie! You fill out surveys and receive a few bucks each time you do it. It can really add up over the course of the month.

A new one I have been doing recently is donating plasma. It only takes a few hours a week and the payoff is about $30/hour! I even get to listen to audio books while I donate!

My place of choice is OctaPharma.

If you do not have one in your area, try CSL Plasma or BioLife Plasma.

Plasma Donation for side hustle or extra money

I talk a lot about side hustle ideas that you can start today and have no upfront costs here:

Need help starting a budget? Use my free tool to get on the right track.

Also, there are budgeting / investing apps that can also help you set a budget, sync with your current accounts, track progress, and even help you get started with investing that extra money you’ll be bringing in.

My 3 favorite apps are:

Once you have a budget created, block out just 15 minutes a month to track your progress and course-correct when needed.

Have a “money meeting” with your partner so both of you stay on the same page and watch the fruits of your labor.

A little preparation will go along way towards to reaching your financial goals this year! 😊


Now is the perfect time to evaluate your finances and plan for the upcoming year.

The sooner you get a handle on your finances and put in the strategies I outlined above, the sooner you can reach your objectives, ease your anxiety, and see your hard work paying off.

2023 Financial Checklist: 7 Ways to kickstart finances

When you take the time at the beginning of the year to figure out what you want to happen in your life, the more control over the outcomes you will have.

Now go out there and make it happen! You got this!  😊

Happy New Year everyone!


Live The Life You Love, Want, And Deserve! 😊


What’s on your financial to-do list? What other tips would you like to share? I’d love to hear your comments.


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