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Navigating the Path to Financial Success: Embracing Realistic Goals

Jan 02, 2024

January's Financial Framework

To do: Set two doable financial goals, either for the year, or for each month of the year.

To pay: The previous year’s fourth quarter estimated tax payment is due by January 15th.

Important Financial Dates

January 1

  • Bank Holiday (New Year's Day)
  • 2024 Social Security changes kick in: Social Security 2024 changes include a 3.2% cost-of-living adjustment to monthly benefits, a maximum taxable income increase to $168,600, the annual earnings limit for recipients increasing to $22,320 (before full retirement age) or $59,520 (at full retirement age), and Social Security disability benefits per month increasing to $1,550 (non-blind) or $2,590 (blind).
  • Medicare changes: There are generally changes to the premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance for the four Medicare plans (Part A, B, C, and/or D). How these changes affect you depends on your income and other factors. Check how much more (or less) you'll be paying and consider that for your monthly budget.
  • Changes to retirement savings rules: There are some complicated changes to the rules for contributing to various savings plans. Check what will happen to the amounts you (and your employer) are allowed to contribute to employer-sponsored plans, how much you can deduct for contributions to a traditional IRA, and whether you are eligible to contribute to a Roth IRA in 2024.

15: Bank and New York Stock Exchange Holiday (Martin Luther King Day)

16: Fourth Quarter 2023 Estimated Tax Payment Due

  • The last day to make tax payments for 2023. Use Form 1040-ES to file estimated payments.
  • You don't have to file a final estimated tax payment if you file your 2023 return (Form 1040 or 1040-SR) by January 31 and pay all taxes due.

31: Individuals Who Must Make Estimated Tax Payments Tax-Filing Due (January)

  • If you didn't pay your final 2023 estimated tax payment by January 16, you can choose to file your income tax return by January 31 and pay any tax due. This prevents you from paying any penalty for your late estimated tax filing.
  • However, if you don't file and pay by January 31, you can still file and pay by April 15.

Navigating the Path to Financial Success: Embracing Realistic Goals

Hey there, fellow financial adventurers! Today, let's dive into the world of setting realistic financial goals – a topic that might not sound as thrilling as a spontaneous shopping spree or winning the lottery, but trust me, it's the secret sauce to long-term financial success.

We all have dreams of sipping coconut water on a beach in the Bahamas or owning a mansion with a built-in movie theater, but let's be real – those goals might take a bit more than wishful thinking to achieve. That's where the magic of setting realistic financial goals comes into play.

First things first, what exactly is a realistic financial goal? Well, it's not about setting the bar so low that you could trip over it. Rather, it's about finding that sweet spot between ambitious and achievable. It's like aiming for a marathon when you're just starting to jog, rather than sprinting from the couch to the finish line. Rome wasn't built in a day, and your financial empire won't be either.

One of the keys to setting realistic financial goals is knowing yourself – your spending habits, income, and the lifestyle you want. Take a good look at your financial landscape and set goals that align with your current situation. If you're drowning in student loans, maybe focus on paying off a chunk each month instead of dreaming about a private island.

Breaking down your goals into smaller, more digestible tasks is another game-changer. Instead of fixating on the daunting total amount you want to save, break it down into monthly or even weekly targets. It's like eating a slice of cake one bite at a time, rather than attempting to devour the whole thing in one go – less overwhelming and more achievable.

And let's not forget the power of patience. Achieving financial goals is a marathon, not a sprint. Rome might not have been built in a day, but each brick laid contributed to its grandeur. Celebrate the small wins along the way, whether it's sticking to your budget for a month or putting a little extra into your emergency fund.

Now, I get it – life can throw curveballs, and plans might need adjusting. Flexibility is key. Your car breaking down or unexpected medical bills can throw a wrench into your financial plans, but having a flexible mindset allows you to adapt without losing sight of your goals.

In conclusion, setting realistic financial goals is like creating a roadmap to your dream destination. It might not be the flashiest or most exciting part of the journey, but it ensures you reach your financial paradise without getting lost along the way. So, buckle up, fellow financial explorers, and let's navigate the winding roads of financial success together!

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