Happy New Year
Posted on 01/18/2018
by Mark Gajowski, II CFP®, CLU®, CEBS®
Happy New Year!!
After coming off a year of amazing market returns, with the Dow, S&P and Nasdaq hitting all time new highs, we think it’s really important to take-stock (pun intended).
So what to do at the beginning of the year, and no – we are not talking about diet and exercise, which we will assume you have already heard enough of this far this year…
What we are talking about is taking a few small, but very impactful steps to a better financial future…and who doesn’t want that?
Here’s a few ideas:
1) Take a look at your overall asset allocation, encompassing where ALL your investments are, and what they are invested in. Does that fit with your overall risk-tolerance (read: comfort with potentially losing money or not making as much as someone whom is fully invested in more growth orientated accounts)? There are great tools available to help you do this yourself, if you are not working with a professional. They are aptly called “data-aggregation” tools. Essentially, you enter in your holdings (username/password) and they pull all the information on those holdings to one spot (for viewing only).
2) Get your legal documents in order! Specifically this is your wills, health care proxies, power of attorney and / or living will documents. This is a big one and so often clients we see either don’t have them done, or they are outdated. Spend a few minutes and talk to your professional, I’m certain they can help you find an attorney to help you get this squared away!
3) While we are on a sort of more morbid topic (hey we don’t get out of life alive, right), why not look at your various life insurance policies – are all your beneficiaries correct? You’d be surprised how many policies we see that still have “estate” or your former partner/spouse. Keep in mind that the insurance company will pay whomever is on the beneficiary form…
4) What about your total investment savings for your future years? If you, or your spouse are one of those folks who is getting a pay increase directly (or through some money from tax reductions via tax-code changes), what about putting more of that money to work for your future in your 401k or 403b plan? Often times there are matches available and if you are not taking advantage of that, you are just leaving money on the table. That’s not cool.
Ok that’s likely enough as although the topic of finance and sound planning gets me jazzed up – like working out does to a personal trainer, I do realize that it does not for most. That said, I am confident that if you take a few simple steps early in the year, or agree to hold yourself accountable to doing some (or all!) of these at a future date that you have made a huge impact in your financial life!
My personal wishes to you and your family for a happy, healthy and successful 2018!