The New Year is here and now is a perfect time to re-evaluate your financial situation. Here are several things to consider:
Personal life changes. If you have experienced any of the following in the last year, now is the time to make sure you have made changes to your overall financial “master plan” to reflect these changes, including updating your Spending Plan, Debt Plan, Savings Plan, and Retirement Plan. In addition you will want to review title on assets, bank accounts and brokerage accounts and update wills/trusts and power of attorney.
- Birth of a child
- New job
- New life insurance policy
- 401(k) rollover
- Revision to will/trust planning documents
- Birth of a grandchild
- Child entering college
Update or Set New Goals
- Have your long-term financial goals changed?
- Has your ability to save money improved, or became worse?
- Have you set any new financial goals?
Review your tax status. The amount of taxable income you receive in a year can have a notable impact on effective and marginal tax rates. Also, taxable income can affect investment strategies.
Prepare for the Unexpected
- Do you have 3 months of expenses saved?
- Do you expect your income to change?
Evaluate Annual Gifting and Charitable Donations
- Do you plan on gifting to family members or friends?
- Do you plan on making charitable donations, or gifts?
Protect your assets by insuring them. Have you reviewed all insurance for life, health, long-term-care, disability, liability, and umbrella policies? If not, now is a good time to do so.
Plan for required minimum distributions. Age 70.5 requires a minimum distribution from all qualified plans or you will incur a 50 percent penalty that will be added to the income tax.
A good review is suggested each year. Get in practice and keep notes so you can see what you considered changing and what you did not. If you use a checklist like this one, you can save a lot of grief.