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Things To Do To Start the Year on a High Note

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Starting the year right means getting things organized, in order and getting started on the right foot. Here is a checklist of some things to do.

  • Stop putting SALY (Same As Last Year) next to last year’s resolutions. Make one or two big-time life goal resolutions that you will do
  • Determine the most important things in your life and act like that they are
  • Value your time. Each day, identify and do your most important thing first; touch things once; make “do it now” your mantra – don’t delay.
  • Check your personal insurance coverage. Make sure you have adequate liability, uninsured motorist, umbrella and workers compensation insurance at your home and the right type and amount of life insurance to provide for your family. A suggestion is to schedule a biennial meeting with your insurance agent to review your coverage and deductibles and find out what is available that you do not have
  • Do some tax planning. Manage investments to benefit from tax savings such as reconfiguring your investments with long-term fixed income securities in tax-sheltered accounts and equities in taxable accounts, or if actively trading, put your trading activities in the tax-sheltered accounts. Consider tax free bonds if you are in the higher tax brackets
  • Get rid of clutter – See the separate checklist
  • Stop being stupid. Treat your family, business and relationships the way they should be treated with the right priorities and expenditure of time and energy. Do not spend your time unwisely
  • Don’t deal with or work with “jerks.” Have a “No Jerk Rule!” Don’t suffer fools. Don’t waste time arguing with stubborn people who refuse to listen to reason or logic
  • Review your will and other estate planning documents and have them updated if necessary, or get them done
  • Do the same for your business buy-sell agreement which is actually a will for your business
  • Review or get a practice or business continuation agreement if you are a sole proprietor
  • Stop texting and dialing numbers when driving. Also, slow down – getting stopped by a patrolman will eat up more time than what you will save by doing what could be very dangerous. Also, skip the road rage – why get mad at an a$$ hole!
  • Call former partners and friends, brothers and sisters and others you were once close with to wish them a happy new year. Life’s too short to dissipate energy holding grudges against people whose funeral you might go to. Clear the air – someone has to take the first step – why not you? Why not now?
  • Go through your pile of business cards and call people you want to stay in touch with or want to rekindle a relationship with and wish them a happy new year. If you no longer care about that person, throw the card away
  • Write and mail a letter for every financial account you have informing the bank, broker, custodian or insurance company that the account should be considered active, not dormant and subject to escheat or unclaimed funds’ laws
  • File a claim to recover unclaimed funds the State might have for you. This should be done whether or not you are aware of funds being there
  • Go to every bank you have a safe deposit box with if you haven’t been to it in a year to show activity
  • Examine all accounts, annuities, investments to make sure they are in line with your needs and goals
  • Review professional license expiration dates and follow up that you received renewal forms if applicable
  • Request and review a copy of your credit report. Do this once a year
  • Change batteries in smoke and CO detectors, flashlights, clock radios and all electronic equipment where you have battery back-up
  • Review the tax assessments for your homes and if applicable start the process for tax reduction
  • Develop a disaster plan. Make sure you have extra batteries, food that won’t spoil (such as peanut butter, crackers and canned goods), emergency numbers to call, that your valuables are documented, and that important papers, photos, health information and insurance policies are digitized or secured and kept off-site
  • If you have home size fire extinguishers throughout your house make sure they are still activated. Do not let this provide comfort to avoid reporting a fire immediately. If you have young children, make sure they know how to call 911 to report a fire or other emergency. For better instructions, speak with your local fire department
  • Check dryer hoses and lint traps
  • Change heating and air conditioning filters
  • Check out and repair cracks around doors and windows [in the winter you can feel the cold air coming in]
  • Think healthy – your body is made to travel a certain mileage with the right fuel, maintenance and care – maximize that mileage
  • Join a gym
  • Go to the gym you joined
  • Get your annual medical check-up this year
  • Plan to take that once in a lifetime vacation this year (when you are able to start traveling again)
  • Be nicer and don’t deal with people that are not nice
  • Be grateful for all of your Blessings!

If you have any tax, business or financial issues you want to discuss please do not hesitate to contact me at emendlowitz@withum.com.

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