Finances

Money Monday: Fourth Quarter Dig-In

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This article was written by Jini Thornton, an Atlanta-based financial expert who is the CEO of Envision Business Management Group and founder of the #NeverBroke Nation. Follow Jini on IG at @jinithornton.

Whether you’re ready or not, Thanksgiving and Christmas are around the corner!  It’s the fourth quarter and the year is winding down real fast.  

When it comes to finances, some people feel overwhelmed and even discouraged and have already made the decision to tackle saving, paying off a credit card, dealing with those medical bills, signing up for the company retirement plan  – the list goes on and on – until next year.  

I think about the fourth quarter of the year just like the fourth  quarter of a football or basketball game.  The fourth quarter is when you dig in and go hard.  Can you imagine if Steph Curry or Lebron James didn’t dig in and play their hardest until the very last second of the game?  Wouldn’t you be shocked if your favorite college or NFL football team walked off the field at the beginning of the fourth quarter, even if they were down, and said we would get this right next game?  You shouldn’t give up in the fourth quarter in sports, and you definitely shouldn’t give up in the fourth quarter when it comes to your finances.

So what does digging in fourth quarter look like?  I’m so happy you asked!  Here are a few suggestions of things you can dig in and tackle before New Year’s Eve:

Debt 

  • Put a list together of all of your bills, lowest balance to highest, and decide how much extra you are going to pay towards the bill with the lowest balance.

Taxes 

  • If you changed your withholding at your job to have fewer taxes taken out of your check, it’s time to fix that so you won’t owe when you file your tax return.
  • Schedule your house/apartment purge so you can make a charitable contribution and get that deduction.

Saving 

  • If you struggle with saving, open a bank account at a bank where you don’t already have an account and set it up so a set amount will automatically come out of your check and go straight to that new account.  No amount is too small to start with. Do NOT get a debit card or online access for this account.

Credit 

  • Check your score AND look at your full report for any errors or problems.

New Income Source 

  • For most of us, we need more income to live the life we really want. Q4 is a perfect time to think about and get a plan on how to make an extra $100, $1,000, $10,000, etc.  

Holiday Spending

  • Set your budget and plan.  Don’t let the holidays stress you out.
  • Have a family meeting if necessary so everyone knows what the plan is for the holidays.

Employee Benefits 

  • Find out when open enrollment is and see if you need to make any changes to your benefits.
  • Sign up for your company’s 401(k) plan – even if you can only contribute $10 a pay period.

I can’t wait to see what you will accomplish when you make a decision, go hard and dig in!

I would love to hear from you!  If you have any money questions or suggestions for topics that you want me to cover, reach out to me at @jinithornton.  Looking forward to hearing from you!

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