Take a look at what went well last year and what did not. Has there been any significant changes in your financial picture that need to be addressed. Some major changes include: job change, income fluctuation, relocation, health costs, and family additions. Now given the changes that occurred you must consider how they will affect your finances.
In terms of spending, take a look at the purchases you made to see if you need to cut back in some areas or increase in others. If saving money is a priority look at what your expenses are to determine what you could reasonably save. Debt can hinder financial progress so look for ways to lower debts so that funds can be allocated to other financial priorities. Investing is great in the long run because of the potential returns offered, so consider what you can reasonably invest.
Reviewing your investment performance from last year will tell you an interesting story. Take a look at the performance to see what investments worked well for you. Most investors have a mix of investments or asset allocation that will work best for them given the priorities and things they want to accomplish financially. Review your investments to see if your asset allocation shifted during the year and needs to be addressed.
Now with all this new found knowledge you must take action. The first thing to do is to determine what your financial priorities are. Then you must determine what your commitment to each priority will be. For instance, how much will go to debt, savings, investing, education, emergency fund, future projects, etc.
Lastly you must consider the professional help that may be available to you. Your bank, place where you invest and job may offer tools that help you to accomplish your financial goals. Some benefits of speaking to your bank may be getting access to special rates or free financial coaching. Talking to the place you invest may reveal educational opportunities or insights into your accounts. Speaking to your job may make you aware of certain workplace benefits you are missing out on that could save you hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars.