If you find yourself with some extra time on your hands in the summer months, you may want to use this opportunity for a financial checkup. Here are my eight suggestions to keep your financial goals focused and on track.
Step 1: Analyze Your Saving
Midyear is a good time to check on your annual savings goals. How much have you saved this year in retirement accounts? Do you need to increase your contributions? Have you been saving in non-retirement accounts like a brokerage account or 529 college plan? Can you increase your saving in any of these accounts? Use the remaining time in the year to get back on track.
Step 2: Be Tax Smart
Summer is a good time for a mid-year tax checkup. Use this time to double check your withholdings or ensure you paid enough in estimated taxes for next year. Understand your tax-saving opportunities, such as 401(k) or 403(b) options, IRAs, Health Savings Accounts, and charitable planning options.
Step 3: Tackle Your Debt
Some 35 percent of adults carry credit card debt from month to month.1 That debt has become more expensive as interest rates have increased. Now’s the time to start planning to pay them off.
While you could be tempted to simply pay off what shows up on the bills each month, you may want to create a debt summary to get a better idea of your total debt’s big picture. By creating an annual debt summary, you can better understand whether you’re gradually working down your amount of debt or falling farther into the hole.
Step 4: Revisit Short and Long-Term Goals
A lot can change in a year—marriage, death, divorce, growing your family, and experiencing a major career change. Even seemingly small adjustments, such as a job promotion or sending a kid off to college, can have a significant impact on your financial status. A midyear financial check is a great way to review your progress toward a goal.
Step 5: Evaluate Coverage and Providers
With the fall approaching and benefits enrollment time, now is a good time to evaluate your company provided life insurance. Is the rate competitive compared to a private policy? If not consider going through underwriting now on a private policy so you have the protection in place and can drop the more expensive company insurance if need be.
Step 6: Reassess and Rebalance Your Portfolio
Much has changed in the stock market in 2023 relative to 2022. Is your current mix of stocks and bonds still appropriate? Is there one sector or group of stocks that you are significantly overweight? It’s important to revisit your portfolio to help keep it in line with your risk tolerance, goals, and market conditions.
Step 7: Review Your Home, Auto, and Umbrella Insurance
Use the summer slowdown to review your personal coverages. Do you have or need an umbrella liability policy? Is the coverage limit appropriate? Have you shopped around your home and auto coverages recently? A second opinion can provide peace of mind and maybe even cost savings.
Step 8: Assess Your Estate Plan
Do you have a Will? Power of attorney? Is it up to date? Are your trustees current? It’s not fun to plan for the worst-case scenario, but leaving your family with an outdated will, trust, or estate plan can lead to major issues down the line. Also make sure you’re accounting for any newly acquired assets (houses, cars, pets, etc.). Finally check that your designated beneficiaries on retirement accounts and life insurance policies are correct.
While summertime is a great time for daydreaming, reading books, going to beaches, and barbecuing it's also the halfway mark of the year and a good time for a financial checkup. To schedule your 8-Step Financial Checkup please click here: Schedule online
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