I can’t believe the ides of March are approaching. Sure enough, spring is coming fast. Especially this year it seems. We are always busy at this time of the year with the beginning of a new year, RRSP season and personal income taxes due at the end of April.
With spring just around the corner, what better time to do a little spring cleaning on your finances? A little financial TLC right now can set you on a good path as we approach the warmer days ahead. Here are key ways to improve your finances in March.
Get ready for tax day
Tax day is April 30 this year, which means it’s time to buckle down and get your tax preparation in order, if you haven’t done so already. Since April 30, 2023, falls on a Sunday, your return will be considered filed on time if the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) receives it, or it is postmarked, on or before May 1, 2023. Bear in mind, if you or your spouse or common-law partner are self-employed, you have until June 15, 2023, to file on time.
The rules for tax filing can be a bit of a minefield, so it’s understandable if you want to rely on the help of a professional tax preparer. To ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible, come prepared for your tax appointment. You can do this by gathering all relevant forms and documents and arriving ready to discuss recent expenses that might qualify you for a tax break.
Did you start a business this past year? While you’ll likely have more forms to fill out, the good news is that you should be able to take deductions for various business expenses, which will help lower your overall tax bill.
Home buying season
While home buying season varies, in general it starts during the month of March, when prospective homebuyers begin chomping at the bit to score the home of their dreams. But with less inventory and increased mortgage rates, getting into the right home may be more difficult this year.
That’s why it’s a good idea to prepare by figuring out how much house you can afford and saving for a down payment. And if the idea of working a down payment into your cash flow feels daunting, a financial advisor can help you work on your financial priorities, while also showing you how homeownership fits into an overall financial plan.
Plan for a job change
The job hunting trend remains strong, with more than 4 million workers quitting their jobs at the end of last year. If you’re mulling the idea of a career change, there are a number of financial steps you’ll want to take first.
First, you’ll want to make sure you have adequate savings in your emergency fund, enough life insurance, and a plan in case a disability prevents you from working. You’ll also want to think about your retirement savings and the impact that leaving your job might have on those funds. If you have a group RRSP through your employer, one option is to roll it over to an individual RRSP or LIRA, which can give you greater control of your investment options.
Your financial wellness
You know the importance of wellness as it applies to your physical and mental well-being. But did you know that it can also apply to your finances?
Financial wellness can be as granular as checking your credit score or ensuring that your expenses don’t exceed your take-home pay. It can also involve more big-picture thinking, like planning for the unknown with a well stocked emergency fund and insurance coverage.
Spring break travel plans
Financial wellness isn’t just about saving. It’s also about knowing that you’re doing the right things for your future so that you don’t feel guilty about spending today, too. One way many people enjoying spending money today is on travel.
With more people growing more comfortable with traveling this year, industry experts are predicting a tourism rebound in 2023. While it’s not too early to start planning a summer getaway, if you’re itching for something sooner or are in need of a last minute trip, check out vacation ideas that will have you and your family hitting the sand in no time.
I like to think of this time of year as opportune for financial spring cleaning. In January, people are getting started with the new year and realizing the vanity of goal setting. Let’s just say February is a short month and is gone before we know it.
When March hits the scene and spring is on the horizon, people are getting more serious about goals, plans and tidying up loose ends in their lives. As has been mentioned, working with a financial advisor can assist in all these areas. In our year end reviews with clients, this subject matter is top mind. March provides a perfect time to adjust your financial mindset and look forward to making changes in Keeping Life Current.