Author: Amanda Hall, CFEd, Education Engagement Manager, Retirement Plan Consulting
There are certain actions you can take each year to help you stay on track to reach your financial goals and keep yourself financially fit overall. Consider this your year-end financial checklist.
Schedule time for a financial checkup. You visit your doctor to check on your physical health each year, schedule time to check on your financial health too. Set aside time annually to review your budget, expenses, beneficiaries, addresses, contact information, investment allocations and contribution rates, and other tax advantaged savings account options. This can be done with your Trusted Financial Advisor or on your own.
Review your budget and current expenses. Budgeting is the foundation of any solid financial plan. It's important to regularly review your budget to understand your cash flow and where you may need to adjust in order to reach your financial goals. Certain expenses should be reviewed and subject to annual rate shopping to look for opportunities to save money and/or get more for what you are already paying.
Review and update your beneficiaries. Keeping your beneficiary designations up to date in a timely fashion protects those you love most. Beneficiary designations on your account take legal precedence over your other legal documents. Without any designation on file, your beneficiaries are doomed to endure a long and expensive undertaking while your assets go through the probate process. Update your accounts at least annually any any time you experience a major life event, such as, divorce or marriage, the birth or adoption of a child, or the death of an existing beneficiary.
Review your retirement savings goal. Try to put 10-15% of your current income towards your retirement savings, which includes any contribution your employer makes on your behalf. Advisors typically recommend you save enough to replace 75-80% of your current income. While this is a good place to start, you may need to adjust these targets based on when you plan to retire and your expected lifestyle in retirement. At the very least, make sure you are contributing enough to take full advantage of any match programs offered by your employer.
Increase your deferral rate & rebalance investments as necessary. If your employer sponsored retirement plan offers it, set up automatic increases to your deferral rate at regularly scheduled intervals. If possible, scheduling your increase to coincide with an expected pay raise will allow you to more aside for retirement without seeing a decrease in your take-home-pay. Increasing your deferral by just 1% each year can have a huge impact on your account balance by the time you retire. This is also a good time to consider rebalancing your portfolio to ensure that your holdings still align with your overall financial goals.
For more information and guidance, contact your HORAN financial advisor to discuss the options.
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