Getting organized is a key step in applying discipline to your financial and investment planning. Here is a checklist that shows suggested financial planning activities for the next year.
- A good time to meet with your financial advisor to review and rebalance your investment portfolio.
- Calculate your net worth for a financial snapshot of where you stand.
- Review your short-term financial goals for the year ahead, such as paying down debt and increasing savings.
- Review your personal budget and revise if necessary. Are you planning a vacation? Are there any major household purchases or improvements you’d like to make?
- Are you properly insured? Review all your insurance policies and deductibles.
- If you don’t have a systematic investment plan, consider setting one up. If you do have one, consider adjusting the contribution level.
- If you will be receiving a year-end bonus from your employer, consider putting it directly into your Retirement Savings Plan so that no tax is withheld.
- Make appropriate adjustments to your withholding tax with your employer.
- Watch for your tax slips to begin arriving.
- Check your RRSP contributions against your limit. If you haven’t reached your maximum, top up now if you can. Consider an RRSP loan if appropriate for you.
- RRSP contribution deadline is March 1 (for 2012 tax year).
- For those of you who are required to pay your taxes by installment, the first quarterly payment is due on March 15.
- Key tax forms will be arriving. Keep them together. Organize your charitable receipts, medical expenses, receipts for business expenses, and so on, so you’ll be prepared when you file your tax return.
- Personal tax filing deadline is April 30. Don’t procrastinate and be late.
- Take the time to review your Notice of Assessment. (Related: What if your tax return is reassessed?)
- Consider investing some or all of your tax refund.
- Second payment due for those required to pay their taxes by installment is June 15.
- Self-employment tax filing deadline is June 15.
- Time for a mid-year portfolio review.
- If you are nearing retirement, review your RRSP conversion options. (Related: What is a RRIF?)
- If you’re considering an RESP for your child or grandchild, get started by applying for a Social Insurance Number for him or her.
- Review your budget for fall. Are you prepared for the seasonal costs of the next 3 or 4 months?
- Get your car ready for colder weather – tires, windshield wipers, etc. You don’t want to wait until the last minute when the snow is flying.
- Third payment for those required to pay their taxes by installment is due on September 15.
- Consider opening an RESP for your child’s or grandchild’s post-secondary education. Ask your advisor for information on how you can qualify for the Canada Education Savings Grant. (Related: Why you should avoid Group RESPs)
- If you are approaching retirement, find out about the preparations you need to do to convert your RRSP into a form of retirement income.
- If you are turning 71 this year, prepare to convert your RSP into a RIF or other income option well before December 31.
- Tax installment final payment is due on December 15.
- Make sure you make your final RESP contribution by December 31 in order to receive the CESG for the year.
A checklist is not a to-do list. It’s a reminder to do certain things because we all have a bit of “absent-minded professor” in us.
You may have a different schedule for tracking and reviewing and, of course, not every item will be applicable to everyone.
Is there anything I’ve missed?