Financial Planning for 2017: A Fresh Financial Start for the New Year
The new year is an opportunity to start fresh and address any concerns or fine tune your financial plans. The first quarter of the new year will come and go without much effort so it’s better to put together your financial task list in order and alleviate any surprises in the year ahead. Afterall, life can change dramatically year to year and priorities can shift along with it. Recalibrating your financial plan or at the very least checking where your current progress falls along your plan’s timeline is crucial to maintaining a financial plan that will truly work for you. It is best not to enter the new year feeling uneasy or even blasé; make sure to set up a meeting with your financial planner, especially if you are overdue!
Keep in mind the first quarter of 2017 will be dedicated to tax preparation. However, if you take the time to organize your financial records at year end, you’ll alleviate a lot of new year stress and give you and your tax expert time to determine the best strategy for your set of circumstances. Our wealth management clients already benefit from the added value of receiving year end tax planning. Assessing whether it’s time to harvest gains or ensuring that your retirement contributions are maxed out, ticking off your year end tax planning checklist will undoubtedly set you up for success and a less stressful tax season. Evaluating your past year against your current year can only help you make better judgements when organizing for your 2017 taxes.
While a year can feel like a drop in the bucket, starting each year with a fresh outlook and organized financials is key to promoting and supporting your long game–retirement. One of the most common missteps when planning your retirement is underestimating how much one needs to save: cost of living, inflation, increasing healthcare costs, and unexpected life events are just a few examples of what you should take in consideration when planning your retirement. Each year make sure to assess your 401k’s performance, current risk level, as well as employer match opportunities. Taking advantage of your employer’s 401k program is one of the easiest ways to get started and advance your retirement savings. If you own your own business and are approaching retirement, the beginning of the year is an ideal time to set up a business succession plan with your financial advisor, who might be able to guide you in the right direction. You’ll feel ready to retire before you know it; take advantage of what you can do in the present to plan and strategize to preserve and grow your wealth and future comforts. Tobias Financial’s Founder and Senior Wealth Advisor, Ben Tobias, discusses the importance of paying down as much debt as possible before retirement in an article published in the SunSentinel. Regardless of your current income, taking a look at your current debt balance and strategizing how to pay it down over the next year will give you freedom in the long term.
If there have been big changes in your life in the past year or know that they are taking place in the year ahead (marriage, divorce, a new child, purchasing a new home, death, etc.), evaluating how those changes impact your financials in 2017 should be an urgent matter. Tax strategies and saving reserve minimums, both for the future year as well as retirement, can all be impacted by milestone events. By taking the time to sit down with your financial planner and devising a plan for the next year, you will be able to manage these changes positively with appropriate wealth management strategies. This is also a perfect opportunity to gauge the health of your emergency fund. If you have questions regarding how to build an emergency fund or how much you should be saving, take a look at our prior post that tackles these questions.
Take this new year as an opportunity for abundance and freedom by making a fresh financial start.