Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on The Penny Hoarder.
Maybe you’d rather forget about 2021 – we get it.
But before you go too far in 2022, it’s a good idea to take stock of how your finances have changed over the past 12 months and make any necessary adjustments.
Here are some aspects of your finances to check so you don’t have any unpleasant surprises this year.
1. Missed Student Loan Payments
If you’ve been enjoying student loan forbearance since March 2020 — when all federally held student loan payments and interest were suspended — it’s time to resuscitate those payments.
The forbearance ends on April 30, 2022, the date on which you begin to owe and accrue interest on your student loans. Don’t delay in contacting your student loan officer.
If you are on the Standard Repayment Plan and are unable to make the payments, apply for an Income-Based Repayment Plan, which could significantly reduce your monthly payments at the end of the term. abstention. If you’re already on an income-driven plan, update your income to change your monthly payment.
2. Overdraft fees
Overdraft fees are among the most criticized fees by banks because those who live paycheck to paycheck are the ones most likely to accidentally overdraw.
The good news is that in 2021 a number of institutions have waived their overdraft fees, including Ally Bank, Alliant Credit Union and Capital One.
As of the new year, Bank of America has announced that it is reducing overdraft fees from $35 to $10 and intends to eliminate NSF check fees. Wells Fargo said it would give customers 24 hours to repay overdrafts, although it did not budge on the $35 overdraft penalty.
What does this mean to you? If you’re banking in a place that charges you fees, then maybe 2022 should be the year you find a new bank – here’s an overview of those fee changes, along with a list of banks that do not charge overdraft fees at all.
3. Changes to social security
Whether you’re already retired or years away, Social Security affects your finances, and there are major shake-ups to the system this year.
For retirees, first good news: Social Security payments are seeing their biggest cost-of-living increase since 1982. But don’t expect a much bigger monthly check: most of that increase will be absorbed by the increase in health insurance premiums.
And if retirement is still in your future, you’ll have to wait longer to reach it – since 2002 the full retirement age is now considered to be 67.
4. End of child tax credits
If you’re the parent of a child under 18, you likely received an extra monthly payment in 2021 thanks to the temporary child tax credit increase contained in the U.S. bailout that President Joe Biden enacted last March – but that source of supplemental revenue ended with the end of the year.
Starting in July 2021, qualifying parents received up to $250 per month for each child between the ages of 6 and 17, and up to $300 per month for each child under age 6. The last payment was Dec. 15, and the remaining half of the credit — $1,500 to $1,800, depending on the child’s age — will be paid out this year when parents file their 2021 tax returns.
The only way to get the remaining half of the credit is to file your 2021 tax return — the sooner the better, if last year’s repayment delays are any indication.
The fastest way to receive your additional child tax credit is to file online. There are many free tax filing software available that simplify the process.
5. Credit card debt
Don’t let the ghost of past credit card purchases haunt you in 2022.
If you want to start reducing your credit card debt, we have many options, including debt avalanche, debt snowball, debt snowflake, and debt lasso methods.
However, if you are having trouble making your payments, you should contact your lender for assistance or difficulty programs.
Start by looking for a customer service number on a copy of your bill for your mortgage, credit card, auto loan, or other loan. When you call, have your account number ready and a clear explanation of why you are unable to pay the bill. Be sure to educate yourself on all of your options and how your payments, balance, interest rate and credit score could be affected.
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