End Of Year $ Moves
It’s that time of year again; close to the end! As we enter the last quarter of the year, remember these money moves that you still have time to make:
- Add to Your 401K. Now is the time to make additional contributions if you are not already maximizing. Some companies include bonuses in the last paycheck of the year. Consider giving yourself the ‘gift’ of the bonus down the road with a larger retirement account.
- Rebalance Your Accounts. Meet with me to rebalance your accounts and reassess your financial plan with updated information.
- Check Your Budget. Analyze saving and spending, and readjust if necessary. Finish this year with an updated budget and start next year strong.
- Make Purchases With Cash. If you spend on holiday gifts, plan to spend cash and keep credit balances low. Cash purchases are often less than credit purchases per item.
- Meet With Your Tax Professional. Discussing options to off-set taxes you will need to pay for 2015 may save you money. It’s better to be prepared and have time to make some changes thenbe ‘shocked’ at filing time.
- Complete a New Risk Assessment and Financial Plan. If we haven’t done this in a few years, now is the time.
Regardless of how busy you may be at the end of the year, I highly recommend doing these simple steps to help your financial success.
Let Me See Your 401K
If you are currently employed, chances are you participate in your company’s 401K. In fact, 60% of Americans are participating in a 401K plan, and over 50% of their retirement savings is in a 401K account (Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies 2014 Annual Report). So why should you let me take a look at it? Because it can benefit you in the following ways:
- Your 401K is the fastest way to grow your retirement savings. I want to make sure you are receiving your matching employer contribution and are maximizing your savings.
- Most participants don’t meet with their plan advisor. By analyzing your 401K, I can make it a part of your financial plan and advise if your fund choices are in line with your risk tolerance and overall goals.
- Many people have 401Ks spread numerous places. Discussing your 401K may help you remember past employers and plans you may have abandoned. It will be important for you to ‘gather’ these old plans so they can be combined into an IRA, if appropriate, and monitored as part of your retirement portfolio.
A 401K is a great tool for saving pre-tax dollars for retirement. I look forward to reviewing your financial goals with you.
A Good, Crazy Market
Because we live in a world where we are interconnected, we always know what is happening with our national markets and the world’s markets. The up and down of the world’s markets don’t necessarily reflect what is happening in our country. That is a good when things get a bit ‘crazy’. Because world markets happen on a larger scale, rarely does it affect us on a national level. World and national markets don’t move the same way.
A ‘crazy market’ nationally, can be good. Although we do experience the up and down of the stock market, ‘craziness’ allows for stabilization in certain asset classes if your portfolio is well diversified.
The ‘madness of the crowd’ to react to the market usually brings about action. A crazy market brings either a buying or liquidating opportunity. Without the changes of the market, we would have no market opportunity.
If you feel that your portfolio is in need of diversification to either capture or eliminate market instability, we should meet. Reviewing and discussing your risk tolerance regardless of where you are invested geographically is important.
Money, Mind and Body
The American Psychological Society has surveyed American’s for the past seven years, to find the leading causes of stress in their life. This year’s report (released earlier this past spring on 2014 data) indicates that the number one cause of stress is money. In fact, money has been the number one stressor since they started the survey. Here are highlights from the full report:
- 72% of adults reported feeling stressed about money some of the time during each month, and 22% reported extreme stress about money.
- Significant sources of ‘money stress’ include (in order of severity) paying for unexpected expenses, everyday living expenses, and retirement.
- Millennials (ages 18-35 years) and Gen Xers (ages 36-49 years old) report the highest levels of stress (income drops, lack of jobs, just enough money to ‘get by’).
- Only 37% report they talk about money openly in their household, and 18% report that talking about money is ‘taboo’.
The report points out that there is a direct correlation of ‘money stress’ and poor health. What our mind perceives to be stressful can overtime cause significant health issues. High blood pressure, depression, and self-inflicted health problems (smoking, drinking to name a few).
It is important to talk about money regardless if it is positive or negative and what your concerns are. By developing a plan, you will work toward putting yourself in a better financial position.