How to Do A "Fitness Test" for Your Financial Plans
Just as falling out of the habit of regular workouts can wreak havoc on your health, forgetting to periodically review the details of your long-term financial goals and the investments and insurance policies that support your goals can potentially have serious consequences for your future. To make the most of your money, make the time to build or revisit your financial plan and take the steps below. Doing so can provide large and lasting benefits for the financial future of you and your loved ones – no trip to the gym required.
Financial Goals Anyone?
Resolutions that are followed each new year can convert to great new habits. This is a similar concept to financial life goals. Being sure you and your family have aligned financial life goals- like college funding, retirement income funding, travel plans or hobbies to name a few. Goals are always the place to start in any financial plan and you should revisit them annually to stay on track. Determining and amending your goals can be a fun process and can remove some anxiety once you and family have alignment. Now, as part of your annual fitness test, you have to check to see if your portfolio performance and savings rates are supporting these goals that you set.
Get financial tips and resources delivered right to your inbox each month -
subscribe to our Fearless Flyer newsletter
Check your investment portfolio allocations and current holdings.
Even if you have a financial advisor to monitor your investment portfolio and holdings, it’s a good idea to remain personally aware of where and how your assets are invested. Know your investment strategy and be sure you have one. Ideally, you should review your investment portfolio on a quarterly basis, but short of that, an annual review is an absolute must. This time of year is a good time, too – chances are you’re already looking in on finances as you prepare to file your taxes.
When evaluating your portfolio, first consider whether your goals and desired timeline for meeting those goals has changed. Then, take a look at each of your investments and consider whether each is still on track to help you meet your current goals in the timeline you’d like – keeping in mind that generally speaking, the more time you have to meet your goals, the more risk you can afford to take in your investment choices and vice versa. If it appears that any of your investments are no longer aligned to your goals and timeline, it may be time to speak with your financial advisor about making some changes.
Review 401(k), IRA, and SEP plans.
Following from the above advice, don’t leave your retirement saving on auto-pilot. While your financial advisor can alert you to recommended changes based on the performance of your retirement accounts, he or she won’t necessarily know if your retirement plans have suddenly changed or if you’ve unexpectedly got some extra income to invest. So, make a habit now of keeping tabs on your balances, ensuring you’ve made your planned contributions, and evaluating whether you’d like to make additional contributions. If you find your circumstances have changed, you’ll be able to be more nimble and proactive in making the necessary changes to your retirement accounts to maximize your savings.
Review life, home, and auto insurance.
It’s easy to let your insurance policies renew from year to year without ever making any updates – but it’s not wise. Again here, this time of year – tax time – is a great time to do an annual review of all your insurance policies to ensure the coverage is still appropriate for your circumstances. If there have been any significant changes in your personal life or your home in the last year, adjustments to your policy may be in order. Make them now to avoid being over- or under-insured in the year ahead.
Revisit beneficiary designations for life insurance and retirement accounts.
While you’re evaluating the coverage of your life insurance policies and the investments in your retirement plan, be sure to also review the beneficiaries you’ve designated for those accounts. If there’s been a marriage, divorce, birth or death in the last year, you may wish to update your beneficiaries. Or, you may wish to change the designations for your existing beneficiaries. Take a look through the beneficiaries and designations you’ve indicated for each of your policies to ensure that your loved ones receive the benefits you intended them to have.
Fitness Test = Plan Well
Starting the new year off right financially is an essential ingredient to rebuilding or accelerating your life financial goals. Revisiting and establishing a forward looking and achievable financial plan is a basic component to Planning Well. If you need assistance prioritizing your finances to help you work toward your long-term financial life goals visit our website at www.whzwealth.com or give our office a call at 860-928-2341. Together, we can leverage our Plan Well, Invest Well, Live Well process to help you get to the financial fearlessness you desire.
Presented by Principal/Managing Partner, Laurence Hale, AAMS, CRPC®. Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network®, Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser. These materials were sourced from Broadridge Investor Communications and are general in nature and do not address your specific situation. For your specific investment needs, please discuss your individual circumstances with your representative. Weiss, Hale & Zahansky Strategic Wealth Advisors does not provide tax or legal advice, and nothing in the accompanying pages should be construed as specific tax or legal advice. 697 Pomfret Street, Pomfret Center, CT 06259, 860-928-2341. http://www.whzwealth.com.
© 2020 Commonwealth Financial Network®
Get more financial resources and news from WHZ delivered to your inbox each month.