We’ve all been there before – “this year I will save more, plan ahead, stick to my budget and meet with my advisor to make sure my portfolio is allocated in my best interest.” Yet, all too often we fail to meet this goal. A yearlong goal can be overwhelming. However, if you break it down one step at a time you may find reaching your financial goals can be accomplished with ease.
Now is a good time to review how much you managed to save last year; 15% is a reasonable minimum target. If this wasn’t the case it’s a good time to take action for the New Year. If you’re retired, make sure your spending will allow for sustainability in your future.
Some items to consider:
Set a time for a review – Meet with your financial advisor and do a thorough assessment of your current strategy whether you’re funding a retirement nest egg or have already retired. Having a solid plan will help alleviate financial stress in your future.
Increase contributions – If you’re in a position to do so max out your company’s retirement contributions this year: $18,000.00 for investors under age 50 and $24,000 for those 50-plus.
Auto pay – Consider making automatic withdrawals from checking or savings account to go directly into your investment IRA or taxable accounts.
Tax documentation – Keep all supporting documentation for deductibles in one file. Make sure your accountant is utilizing every deduction possible.
Review Income – Take a moment to make any necessary changes in investment contributions. If your salary has increased so should your contributions.
Pay down any high interest debt – It would be difficult to out earn a high-interest-rate credit card debt by investing in the market.
Contributions – It would be practical to put money into both low-rate mortgages and tax-sheltered investment options such as a 401(k) s. IRA contribute limits are $5,500 for those under 50 and $6,500 for people over 50. Also, consider funding a health-savings account for 2015, single individuals may contribute $3,500 to an HAS. Those with family coverage my contribute $6,650 and those over 50 may contribute an additional $1,000. If a college fund is needed, now is the time to start these contributions.
Revisit your estate plan – This plan will determine who will inherit your assets, serve as guardian for minor children, control your digital imprint and make important decisions on your behalf if you cannot make them yourself. Be aware that designation for 401k (k) s, IRAs, and other accounts supersede the information that was put in a will.
So in this New Year as you optimize and automate your savings, and put all financial matters in order, be sure to remember that experiences and not things bring us the most happiness. And these experience may be the incentive you need to save more, spend less and live life to the fullest having financial peace of mind.