If you want to improve your finances, it is important to remain alert and engaged in your money habits throughout the year. In addition to monitoring your account balances and keeping up with your bills and savings plan, consider performing a more formal review of your finances sometime during the year. Regardless of when you set financial goals, the periodic review is an opportunity to adjust your earning, spending, and saving behavior to ensure alignment with your annual goals. If you tend to overspend or neglect your financial obligations, the simple act of dedicating time to your financial matters can also help strengthen your resolve. Here are five tasks to complete on your mid-year checklist:
1. Review spending and income. Look back over your spending in the first half of the year to look for patterns that affect your bottom line. Has your income changed? Are you sticking to your budget? Did any large, unexpected expense come along to throw you off? If your expenses are higher than expected, make a plan to address the situation — either by increasing your earnings, saving more, or cutting back on spending. If, on the other hand, you suddenly have more disposable income than you anticipated, consider increasing the amount you save or accelerating your schedule for a planned goal.
2. Check your insurance coverage and costs. Reflect on whether you have the appropriate levels of insurance coverage in light of recent life events such as getting married, buying a house, having a child, or changing jobs. It is also important to keep your beneficiaries up to date as the composition of your family changes. If your premiums are creeping up, it may be time to get quotes and compare carriers.
3. Track your tax obligations. Be mindful of any events that affect your annual tax bill. Have you recently sold investments? Or, have you recently sold a home in excess of the capital gains exemption? If so, it may be wise to set money aside to meet the tax obligation on the capital gains of the sale. Likewise, keep track of any capital losses you have incurred that may reduce your tax burden. Make sure you have selected the appropriate number of exemptions so your paycheck deductions are sufficient to cover your end-of-year taxes without giving the IRS too much of your money to hold. And if you are self-employed, perhaps you need to make quarterly estimated payments, making sure the amount paid reflects your actual earnings so you do not end up owing an unwieldy amount at tax time.
4. Adjust your savings. If more money has come your way through earnings, inheritance, or other happenstance, now is the time to bump up the amount you contribute to savings and investments. And if a new goal has cropped up — anything from replacing your car, financing a remodel, to accelerating your retirement — factor it into your savings plan.
5. Monitor retirement funds. If you have a retirement plan, check to see that your assets are distributed in accordance with your risk tolerance. Your financial advisor may recommend periodic rebalancing to optimize returns. If you are over 70, make sure you withdraw required minimum distributions (RMDs) from your retirement plan or IRA in accordance with IRS guidelines to avoid penalties.
Stepping back mid-year to check in on these five areas will help you discipline and focus your financial life. Your financial advisor can walk you through a mid-year review and provide valuable guidance to help you stay true to your monetary intentions all year long.
Ameriprise Financial and its affiliates do not offer tax or legal advice. Consumers should consult with their tax advisor or attorney regarding their specific situation.
Brokerage, investment and financial advisory services are made available through Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA and SIPC.
This communication is published in the United States for Texas only; and this advisor is licensed only in the states of CA, CO, FL, MO, NC, NM, OK, TX, and VA.
M. Ahmad Adnan, CFP®, CRPC®, RFC®
Business Financial Advisor
Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc.
3200 Steck Avenue | Suite 250 | Austin, TX 78757
Phone: 512.213.6400 Ext. 102 | Toll Free: 866.238.4230
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