January 15— Open those envelopes!

It’s that time again. When envelopes come flying into your mailbox. These envelopes usually have BOLD text that says something like

 IMPORTANT TAX DOCUMENT ENCLOSED.

What do you usually do with those envelopes? Just put them in a neatly marked folder?  Or a shoe box?

Aren’t you just the least bit curious about that important  information?

 

Why not do something different this year?  OPEN THE ENVELOPES! Then  READ THE FORMS!

Why?

They tell you precisely how much money you brought in the door last year. So you know how much you made, and, if you have  a partner, how much income your partner  earned.

Now don’t be intimated by the forms. Hot Flash Financial can tell you how to read them. So you can skip to the important parts.

When you see a :

  • W-2  scan up or down the page to find Box 1. that lists WAGES, TIPS AND OTHER COMPENSATION. What is the dollar amount?
    • That’s your “gross” or total income. The amount that you get paid before all the benefits and taxes are taken out.

When you see a form that says

  • 1099  that  tells you that you, or your partner,  made even more money. It could be money from the interest paid on a savings account (that will be a 1099-INT). There are other types of 1099 forms, that report other types of income.

Now, Hot Flash Financial is going to encourage you to  ADD up the totals and find out how much money you (and your partner, if you have one)  earned. This total dollar amount is good to keep in your head.  You not only know how much money your make. This dollar figure gives you an idea of how much of that you need to live comfortably. Keep that in the back of your mind too.

So watch for these envelopes. Open them up and read them. Most of them come by the end of January,

 —————————————————————

 

Hot Flash Financial HOT TIP. Now, if January ends, and you do not get any 1099s, why not file your tax return EARLY? Then you will get your TAX REFUND EARLY. Why wait? It’s your money.

And Hot Flash Financial has so many good suggestions for using that moneyà to improve your financial security, Click on the ASK & ANSWER navigation buttons (above). Try the Menu Option called Getting Started. Follow the suggestions.  Make sure you do something really important for yourself. ACT! Act in your OWN SELF INTEREST. Follow the steps we give you. So you can improve your finances, decrease your money stress, and get more secure, financially that is.

New Year’s Resolution

Here at Hot Flash, we  LOVE  New Year’s Resolutions.

If you make a New Year’s Resolution, you are more likely to take action to improve your life (than, of course, someone who has not made a resolution). And that is what Hot Flash Financial is all about—helping women, like you, improve your finances and your economic security.

So, if you resolve to save more money this year, pay down some debt, find out why you never seem to have enough money, or just get your financial life in order, Hot Flash Financial can help you with that. And  you won’t have to do this all alone.

Help is what most people need in January when they make a New Year’s Resolution. Because more than half will not keep their resolutions by July. You can’t just rely on your own good intentions. You do better if you set a specific goal, and use a clearly defined strategy, and follow a set of steps (without reinventing the wheel).

Set a specific goal, like—

    • I want to save $50 (or $500, etc.) from my paycheck every month. That is better than just saying you want to save more money, or
    • I want to track my spending so I know where my money goes. That way you can gain more control over your income and make careful decisions about spending, retirement, and/or other future spending such as a home  or car purchase, or
    • I want to reduce the total balance on one specific credit card by X amount of dollars by the end of this year. That is better than saying  you want to get out of debt.

At Hot Flash Financial, we recommend that you write that specific goal down–on an index card, or sticky note, or in some app. Writing it down just makes it seem more real.You need a clear strategy and set of steps that you can follow. That will work more than good intentions.

Professionals, like those of us at Hot Flash Financial, know what methods work, and can offer a clear set of steps that you can follow. Just click around  HOT FLASH FINANCIAL.com to get the list of steps that you need to :

    •  Save a specific amount of money each month. If you want to jump into this and you have an amount in mind, you can direct that money to a savings account. Or, you might want to direct that to an account that will be most beneficial to you over the long term. So you can click on the link   How to build  Then, if you are saving for the long term, look at Hot Flash Financial’s recommendation of the best account for saving—one with a tax break, Where to Stash it, as well as Start depositing now.
    • If you would like to have more control, and make more intelligent decisions about your money and its use, it often helps to figure out where your hard earned dollars go. Professionals call this process  Tracking your spending. It requires more steps, but has a bigger potential payoff. Because tracking  makes it  easier to make informed decisions about reducing spending in some areas. It has the potential to reduce tension about spending changes within a household or marriage, because you have a lot of numbers to point to, and multiple  points or expenditures to discuss. We can give you the Steps you need. Just click on Track it to find a list of great gismos you can use, or select the “lazy way.”  Then click on Track and Decide to help you select the best ways for you to find money to save or deploy for more important issues.
    • Reducing credit card debt can be a challenge. But Hot Flash Financial has some ways to help you. Follow our Hot Flash Financial Plan. You can skip Steps 1 and 2, and jump to Step 3 and click on How to pay it down. Then continue to Steps 5-8 so that you can use a superb method to pay it down—over time— with the Extra Hot Flash Amount

 

There are a few more secrets to fulfilling your Resolution. Most of us need a few emotional boosts, and some rewards to keep us going beyond January.

Emotional Boost and Rewards. You probably know that change is not easy. You may need a little boost to help you stay on course. So take our silly quizzes and look at our laugh button.

You can turn to a friend, loved one, or our site to ask for support, and gently remind you to get back on track if you stray a bit. In fact, Hot Flash Financial recommends that you  “Go On Record” with that friend or our site. You can Twitter us or use your own Facebook page, or show her/him your index card. Use either the hi tech or low tech method to share your specific goal and the steps you will take.  (Easy cheat sheet: the set of Steps we give you at Hot Flash Financial. Print them out and check them off as you do them). Research shows that you are more likely to fulfill your Resolution if you do that. Then, each month, you can brag about your success on Twitter and/or Facebook or friend. Oh, and when you achieve the goal you set for yourself CELEBRATE! You can give yourself a reward each month for a) saving that amount you resolved to save $50 or $500 or b) reducing your debt by the amount in your resolution.

Penalty. Don’t hesitate to create a little fine if you don’t follow the steps you set for yourself, or fall off the wagon for awhile. Have fun with this “punishment.” You decide what it will be. Here are some ideas:

  • allow a friend to tease you
  • pay a small “price” by giving money (a token amount) to  that friend, or loved one. (Don’t send money to our site. [We are not Soupy Sales.] Send money to a charity that you hate—like a charity that supports a cause opposed to your own preferences. For instance, if you support gun control, send a $25 donation to the NRA [National Rifle Association]. Now that is a penalty that will probably make you focus more clearly on meeting your own specific money goals for yourself.)

We hope the clearly defined steps outlined in this blog help you have success with your Resolution. And if you can’t wait until  2013 to take more steps to improve your finances, click on Hot Flash Financial every week, and Friend us on Facebook, sign up for our Tweets, and follow our blogs.

We welcome your clicks all year long.