Ruth-Ann E. Toups
September is the New January – 5 Things You Should Do Before 2018 Ends
Summer is over. The school year has begun, and suddenly the year feels new again. When I recently heard the phrase “September is the new January,” I immediately loved it. The fall season always feels like a fresh start. Many of us set goals for the year in January, but as the year wears on we diverge from those goals. The summer is a time of less structure, whether you have kids in school or you just find many of your co workers are off on vacation. Then September rolls around, and everyone’s attention turns again to accomplishing those goals we made at the start of the year with fresh energy after a summer-break. Fall is a season of renewed promises. We look forward to finishing the tasks we set out for the year with the holidays in sight as a reward.
Perhaps, this is why September has always been my favorite month of the year. (In all fairness September is also my birth month, which certainly contributes.) Each year I look forward to Labor Day weekend, the official end of summer and start of September. The start of fall, my favorite season. For me, fall marks the start of the academic year, crock pot cooking, college football, pumpkin scents, cooler weather, the holidays, and time with friends and family. This excitement over September is why I was so invested in the idea that “September is the new January.”
I started thinking of how I could mark this mid-year new year, and I took some time to think about how we can use this time each year. One of my favorite authors and podcasters, Gretchen Rubin, is embracing Labor Day as a time to think about your work. Drawing inspiration from her, I started thinking about all of the important work considerations that arise in the fall. Each fall, we are faced with open enrollment; the nearing end of the tax year; and, perhaps decisions about where our careers might take us. So, I encourage you to use your new January, September, to get five important things marked off your to-do list before the year ends.
First, review your company’s benefits. I often find that my clients are not even aware of the benefits they may have through their employer. You may not know what benefits you have and thus would not know how or when to use them if you needed them. For instance, did you know many companies will reimburse or cover the costs of your estate planning? If your company offers such a benefit, now is the time to take advantage of it.
Second, review your beneficiaries. We have talked on the blog before about the importance of beneficiary designations. (You can read the blog here.) Labor Day weekend would be a great time to mark your calendar to review your beneficiaries annually.
Third, evaluate your health insurance. Do you need to research a change for the upcoming year? This is the time of year to think about your health insurance and consider your alternatives.
Fourth, meet with your financial advisor or CPA about the upcoming end of the tax year. While many individuals and small business owners begin to panic in December about the end of the tax year, September is a great time to take stock in the year so far and consider what moves you can make before year end to be in best tax position possible.
Finally, schedule yourself time with your family over the holidays. For many industries the end of the year can prove to be a hectic time and sometimes our time with family is cut short as a result. The best way to maximize your holidays is to plan ahead. Schedule your time off now, and then make a plan for how to stick to it. It might mean some time in the office on the weekend, or it might mean sticking to your guns about your calendar. Either way, get out your calendar and make your plans.