Is the new year a surprise gift of lovely goodies or Pandora’s Box?

Welcome to 2024!!!

We’ve had a rough-and-tumble few years, but I always embrace the clean slate that is January 1.  I’m holding firm to the power of positive thinking until someone far more powerful pries it from my cold dead hands. So what should we talk about at the start of this fresh New Year? How about resolutions (seriously, you didn’t see that coming???). Here we go:

  • This is the year I’ll update my legal documents – raise your hand if you knew that New York State passed a law in 2020 updating the Power of Attorney form.  OK, all three of you are exempt from having to read this paragraph. It wasn’t a big change, but it was a change never-the-less which is just one more reason for those of you who have yet to deal with the issue of your legal docs (and we both know who you are…) to make 2024 the Year of Dealing With It. Get those wills updated, put those Powers of Attorney in place, get your Health Care paperwork updated just in case. Once you have them done, pop me a copy so I can be prepared to help if something unfortunate should happen.
  • This is the year I’ll check my accounts less often – coming off a surprising late 2023 run, and knowing several political headwinds coming this year, 2024 might be a bit rocky and I defy any of you to tell me that frequently checking your accounts does anything other than cause you angina when the markets are volatile.  Here’s my suggestion:  Mark your calendar with two dates, roughly six months apart.  Those are the dates you will check your balances, no more.  Perhaps you’re a celestial sort of person – Great, March 20th and September 20th (the Equinoxes) are your dates.  More of a Hot / Cold personality?  How about February 2nd and August 2nd.  Are you a sports fan?  Baseball season opens April 1st (someone has a sense of humor…) and the NHL is scheduled for October.  Regardless, if you’ve done your financial planning well, you shouldn’t need to check your accounts often.  There are far better things to do with your time and brain power.
  • This is the year I’ll spend my carefully curated cash wisely – Rochester winters are long and if you’re anything like me, you are itching to hit The Little, do a little shopping (something I absolutely NEVER thought I’d say), have dinner & drinks out every night with friends, you name it.  Take a little time now to review your Cash Flow Plan and set some guidelines so you don’t drift into the overspent category – post-pandemic and even with inflation we have slid back into the mindless consumer driven culture known as America (whoa – that was a little snarky…).  Look back over 2023 and consider:  What were the best things I did?  That’s where you’ll spend your 2024 dollars.
  • This is the year I will be ahead with my taxes – it’s January and your various tax documents will start rolling in the door / email any minute. We don’t want to be giving the government too much extra money they probably won’t spend responsibly so walking the balance between over-paying and under-paying can require some planning.  If you haven’t ever done tax planning, it’s never too late to get started.  Gather your documents and tell your tax preparer you want to do some tax planning. With a little coaxing, the better ones will understand what you are looking for – if they look back at you with their face scrunched into a pained expression, consider finding a new tax preparer. Pull out your 2022 taxes and see what your tax liability was, then total up everything you paid in for 2023.  Compare the two and that should give you an idea as to whether or not you might want to consider increasing your withholdings or pop a check in the mail to the IRS. Of course, if you have any questions, give me a call.
  • This is the year I’ll do something positive for my corner of the world – If I had a dime for every time I’ve heard the phrase “when things get back to normal” in the past three years I’d be working from a quaint little thatched cottage in Scotland.  We have a fabulous opportunity to work towards a new normal so what do you want your new normal to look like?  Someone far smarter than me once said that the world is run by those who show up.  Now I’m not silly enough to think that I can change the world, but I certainly think that I can change my tiny corner of it and so can you.

I wish you all an excellent clean slate and look forward to working with all of you in the year to come.