Investors should take these five steps

NEW YEAR'S IS TYPICALLY a time of fresh resolve and new commitments. The start of a calendar year motivates many to set new goals and habits and similarly, dispose of unhealthy ones. As such, a new year can also be a helpful prompt for recalibrating an investor's finances.

While it's always a good idea to stay on top of your financial situation, life has a sneaky habit of getting in the way and delaying this important (but usually not urgent) activity. However, since the calendar end is a tax-year cutoff for things like charitable contributions, gains and losses, flexible savings account distributions, etc., it only makes sense after the holiday festivities have passed, to pause and assess one's finances before the business of the New Year (and the upcoming tax filing deadline) delays this activity further.

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