You in Review – Have you asked yourself what went well in 2022?

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In this article I’ll be outlining a few important factors you can address to kick start your 2023 finances in the right way.

2022 has been a rough year for investors, and with all the political and social challenges we see in mainstream media, it’s easy to get lost in the negatives if we don’t pause to reflect.

There has no doubt been great learnings and takeaways for us all – but what are they for you and your finances?

Those who read my blog regularly are familiar with my in-depth investment guides and reviews on topics such as roboadvisors, trading accounts and top-rated Swiss bank accounts such as Zak.

But in this blog post I won’t be reviewing any Swiss platforms – it’s a review of YOU.

I call this financial self-reflection strategy ‘The Big 7’ and will outline each question in more detail below.

Let’s get started.

🎁 Reader Bonus: I’ve partnered with Zak to bring Investing Hero readers (that’s you!) a 50CHF welcome bonus when you open a free account. No strings attached and no BS. Just use the code HEROCH to claim your 50 bucks.

Before I get into the specifics on The Big 7 questions, I want to briefly emphasize the importance of self-reflection to support your 2023 financial planning.

Without a pause for reflection, we miss the opportunity to make more informed decisions and we risk repeating the same mistakes.

So before we fall into January with the same old habits, let’s take the time to ponder a few of these questions. Without any financial (or even, personal) self-reflection on 2022, its difficult to identify which areas you need to improve for 2023.

Grab a pen and a sheet of paper, and give yourself a point for every confident ‘Yes all good’ answer you give, and tally them up at the end.

Let’s jump into question one.

Question 1: ‘In 2022, on average, did I have a clear view of my income and expenses?’

Your income statement is easy to see when you get paid monthly, but when life gets in the way, things can get complicated.

Debt, taxes, insurances, rent, food, travel – without organisation (Zak pots are great for this!) it can be tricky to keep track. Did you in 2022? What were your biggest expenses?

Question 2: ‘Did I reach my annual financial goal in 2022?’

You won’t be alone if you answer ‘Hell na’ to this question. The stock market is down and investors have suffered all year. But there are other diamonds in the rough to watch out for.

For example, did you stick to your monthly savings and investment plans despite the market turmoil? Have you created a cash buffer in 2022?

Question 3: ‘Have I made progress toward my longer-term financial goals?’

Time is an investor’s best friend – and for most of us, staying the course over the next 30 years will allow us to retire with a nice nest egg and have even more for future generations.

But that requires commitment and small but consistent steps taken today. For example, have you paid into your bank’s pillar 3A private pension plan (e.g. Zak) in 2022?

Question 4: ‘Is my emergency fund untouched?’

Your emergency fund is a cash buffer of anywhere from 3-6 months’ worth of expenses. And it’s there for a reason – exactly when you need it to cover for the unknown. The last thing you want to do is liquidate stocks when the market drops to free up some of your cash.

There is nothing negative about touching your cash buffer, it’s there for a reason after all.

But if you did use your emergency fund, did you ask yourself why that happened? Was it a one-off expense (e.g. a broken dishwasher), or has it happened a few times before? These are potential valuable learnings for your 2023 planning.

Question 5: ‘Have I reviewed and optimized my taxes?’

Another important pillar in building your wealth is taxation. Many simply don’t take the time to review their tax situation and identify areas that can be optimised. Have you considered all the deductions you can claim? (e.g. your Pillar 3A at a bank like Zak, renovation costs and some insurance?)

And if you are a sole trader, for example, have you forecasted the tax savings in setting up a limited company? There are many hidden details, and you’ll likely to uncover some value with this question.

Question 6: ‘Have I reviewed all my contracts?’

Every year you have the chance to save hundreds, and in the case of health insurance, potentially even thousands of CHF if you take the time to review and change your contracts.

The process is time-consuming and annoying, but it’s rarely not worth the effort to review your contract and compare the market offers. The big winners are typically health insurance, but cell phone contracts, banks, car, travel and home insurances are also worth checking.

If you haven’t tackled it in 2022, make a note of the contract expiration dates and terms of cancellation for each contract so you don’t miss it in 2023. In the case of banking – it’s a no brainer to set up a free account with a provider like Zak to save money.

Question 7: ‘Have I discussed benefits with my employer?’

If you have a full time (or even part time) job in Switzerland, you’ll likely be making contributions to a company pension, also known as the ‘second pillar’ of the Swiss pension system.

Be sure you check out the details – are the contributions invested and do you have the ability to determine the type of investment portfolio? Can you increase your contributions, which in turn will increase employer contributions? If you haven’t already, be sure to find out in 2023.

Closing thoughts

By now, you hopefully have a nice brain dump of areas that can support your planning for 2023.

So how did you do?

If you’ve identified a number of gaps, the good news is that there’s no deadline. So if you score a big fat zero on the questions above – that’s fine!

The most important thing is that you have worked through the questions and identified areas you want to improve in 2023 – so well done! Over the next few weeks and months, you can flesh out your answers in detail and prioritise what you need to address first.

So, if you haven’t yet set up a third pillar for your private retirement savings, you should do so with an established Swiss bank, like Zak.

Or… get your tax return reviewed by a professional.

Or… top up your emergency fund.

Or… switch your health insurance provider.

The list goes on and on…

What are your priorities now for 2023?

Thanks for reading

Mr. IH

🎁 Reader Bonus: I’ve partnered with Zak to bring Investing Hero readers (that’s you!) a 50CHF welcome bonus when you open a free account. No strings attached and no BS. Just use the code HEROCH to claim your 50 bucks.

About me

I’m a British expat who’s been living in Switzerland for the last 10 years. I’m a digital marketing professional by day, and anonymous investing blogger by night. I cover investing basics, robo advisor reviews and epic how to guides. You can call me ‘Mr. IH’ for short, and read more about me here.