For many people, resolutions are a big part of celebrating the New Year. Resolutions - which (let’s be honest) are really just goals - can help you think about what you want from the coming year and beyond.
A long-standing practice of our team is to closely monitor our clients’ portfolios and rebalance as necessary to keep their allocation and acceptance of risk on target. We have their long-term goals top of mind all year long and realize the goals may change as they move along their life journey. We often hear from our clients, though, that their children or grandchildren use the turn of the year to make financial resolutions.
And they’re not alone. Approximately 45 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions with financially-themed resolutions among the most popular. However, less than 10 percent of resolution-makers actually achieve their goals. Let’s make sure your next generation is in that 10 percent this year.
Simply saving more and spending less are important goals and great starting points, but they shouldn’t stop there. This year help them make a plan to go above and beyond those basics. Here are nine tips you can share with your kids and grandkids:
What has changed over the last 12 months? Do you have some new goals? Travel more? Buy a car? If you haven’t set any financial goals yet, don’t worry. Now is the perfect time to get started. Divide your goals into two categories: long term and short term, and don’t be afraid to get specific. Then you can create plans to meet each set of goals.
Your budget is the foundation for every financial decision you’ll make. Make a list of your expenses, deduct it from your income, and you’ll see exactly where you stand in black and white. Do you need to trim some expenses make your goals a reality? There are a number of budget tracking apps and websites to help you take care of the task. Although we don’t we necessarily promote one particular app, using one may make this task a little easier.
Like saving more and spending less, being prepared for an emergency is key to your financial security. Emergencies happen so make sure you’re prepared for the unexpected. We suggest setting aside three to six months of living expenses that you can tap into as needed.
If homeownership is one of your long-term goals, start saving now. If you can make a 20 percent down payment, you’ll avoid having to pay private mortgage insurance, so there’s an incentive to reach that level. It may take you a little longer to reach your goal but falling back on those basics of saving more and spending less will help you reach it more quickly.
Not all debt is created equal. Credit cards with high interest rates should top the list of debt you want to knock out first. Depending on the interest rate, it may make sense to simply make your regular payment on longer term debt (i.e., a mortgage) and invest any excess cash. If the investment of the additional cash is expected to achieve a higher rate of return than the rate of interest on the loan, it makes sense to invest.
Retirement may feel like it’s a long way off, but don’t be lulled into a false sense of security. The biggest champion you have on your team right now is time, so use it to your advantage. The longer your investments can grow, you better off you’ll be later on. The key to financial success is to invest as much and as often as you can. If you don’t have one already, open an individual retirement account (IRA) – we can help you decide whether a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA is best for you. And be sure to keep contributing to your 401(k) if your employer offers to match your contributions.
Are you getting a large tax refund? Have there been changes in your tax situation? Are you part of a two-income couple adjusting to one income because of a job loss or pregnancy? Have you changed from being an employee to being self-employed or vice versa? If you’ve had any life-changing event, you may need to adjust your withholding in order to avoid unpleasant surprises at tax time. And anyone with assets can, and should, have an estate plan. Make sure yours is appropriate for your current situation.
Get involved with and be an advocate for your financial good health. Keep your credit history clean, pay attention to your credit reports, and know when something changes. Make it a resolution to check your credit reports at the beginning of each year. Keep a close eye on your bank account statements and credit card statements so you know when something is amiss.
It’s never too early to create a financial plan for your future. We enjoy and have often worked with multi-generational families. Call us today at 303-768-0007 to see how we can help you achieve your goals.
A new year brings new opportunities. Even if you’re reflecting on your own future, it’s the perfect time to evaluate your financial position, set new goals and make changes as needed.
Any opinions are those of Jacob Jaegle and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. The information contained in this report does not purport to be a complete description of the securities, markets, or developments referred to in this material. There is no assurance any of the trends mentioned will continue or forecasts will occur. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but Raymond James does not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation. Investing involves risk and you may incur a profit or loss regardless of strategy selected. Please note, changes in tax laws may occur at any time and could have a substantial impact upon each person's situation. While we are familiar with the tax provisions of the issues presented herein, as Financial Advisors of RJFS, we are not qualified to render advice on tax or legal matters. You should discuss tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional.
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