Should your resolution to get your finances in order really wait until the New Year?

If you’re anything like me, you love a good schedule. If it’s not in the calendar, it’s generally not happening!

One common trap we find ourselves in as we start to head towards Christmas is the ‘I have scheduled this for early next year’ trap. There is no real reason things have to wait until 2024, it’s simply the fact that next year is now ‘just around the corner’ and it takes a little pressure off not to have to worry about something until then.

Aside from the fact that our best intentions to get onto something early next year often go awry when we find ourselves unexpectedly busy in January and then start to think, ‘I will get on to this before the end of the financial year’, there are a few big reasons that waiting to do a little thing can turn into a big thing.

If you are considering applying for Centrelink benefits

  • Applications for Disability Support Pension and Age Pension can take six months or longer based on the current backlog at Services Australia.
  • You may be entitled to backpay if it takes a significant amount of time to process your application, but this will only be the case if you have submitted all the required documents.

If you are considering taking out Income Protection, Life Cover, Trauma or Total Permanent Disablement Insurance

  • Insurers can and do increase their premium rates.
  • If you have a birthday in the new year the first year’s premium will be more expensive.
  • There could be a change in your health circumstances. Sadly, accidents are far more common in holiday season.

If you are considering changing your super or ordinary investments

  • Unfortunately, I have noticed many investments that have recorded a negative return or a return of under 1% this year. Of course, the sooner changes are made the more growth potential there is. If a super rollover is needed, that can take several weeks.

If you are considering contributing to super or starting a new investment

  • If you are intending to make regular tax-deductible contributions to super,  such as salary sacrifice, the sooner you start the lower your tax bill will be by year end.
  • If you are keen to invest, your excess money will not be working for you sitting in the bank for the next couple of months.

If you are considering retirement

  • This one is simple. The sooner you start planning the sooner you can retire!

I could go on about how much interest you end up paying when you delay reviewing your loans, how postponing setting up Wills and Powers of Attorney can lead to complexities for families, and how much money you can save just by looking at all of your policies closely – but you get my point. The sooner, the better!

I have decided that 2024 will kick off on the right foot if I get all my ducks in a row before the end of the year.

What’s on your list of things to do?