Gain a sense of progress and control by tackling these six important financial tasks in 2017. Then you can address all those other New Year’s resolutions!
There are certain financial to-do’s that need to be done once a year, while others need to be addressed once, and then you’re done with them for a long, long while. According to the Palm Beach Post’s, “6 money resolutions you can actually keep,” taking care of these basic tasks will get your year started out on the right foot. What feels better than knowing you’ve taken care to protect your family and your finances?
- Consolidate retirement accounts. This makes it easier for you to watch investments and can save money. Investment choices in 401(k)s typically cost much less than those available outside of the plans, and many large-company 401(k)s offer very inexpensive funds that are not available to retail investors. If you have a good 401(k), ask your employer if you can transfer your old retirement accounts into it. Otherwise, look at rolling old accounts into a single IRA at a discount brokerage. There are also low-cost target-date retirement funds that eliminate the ongoing need to rebalance your accounts.
- Purchase life insurance. Not everyone needs life insurance, but if you do, you may need a good-sized chunk. If you have others depending on your paycheck or your child-rearing services, you should figure out your future obligations and subtract your current resources to see how much insurance to purchase. Get quotes from several carriers. Most people select term insurance, which is much less expensive than permanent insurance, which has an investment component, like whole life.
- Set up savings categories. You can avoid having to scramble to pay a big bill like property taxes, if you set up savings accounts for specific costs. For each goal, calculate how much you'll need to pay the bill when it's due, and divide by the number of paychecks you'll get between now and then. Set up an automatic transfer for that amount, and the cash will be there when you need it.
- Refinance student loans. If you have good credit, you may be able to lower the interest rates on your student loans. Refinancing to a lower rate is a slam dunk for private student loans, but with federal student loans, you'd be giving up some pretty important protections, like income-based repayment plans and more generous forbearance and deferment options. It might be worthwhile if you have a good job and can pay off the loans quickly. Otherwise, refinance private loans separately and apply the amount you save to your federal loan bills to help pay them off more quickly.
- Create or review your will. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you create a will that expresses your wishes for your assets at death. If you haven’t reviewed your will in the last four or five years, you should review it to make sure it still fulfills your wishes. Laws change over time, and there may be new opportunities for tax saving strategies as well.
- Check on beneficiaries. Review your beneficiary designations and most of the other tasks on this list, after any major life change, such as a birth, adoption, marriage, divorce or death.
Once you’ve checked these six items off your list, congratulate yourself as resolutions that you did manage to keep for 2017!
These are great tips! If you would like to create an estate plan or revise your estate plan, please call our office today!
Reference: Palm Beach (FL) Post (December 26, 2016) “6 money resolutions you can actually keep”