- Create emergency savings.
Life is full of unexpected emergencies, so prepare for unpredictable expenses by putting aside six to eight months of expenses in a cash-equivalent account.
- Make a monthly budget and stick to it.
If you are not tracking your spending, you may be surprised by how quickly it adds up — and which expenses are costing you the most.
- Save more for the future.
We recommend keeping separate “buckets” of savings for short-, medium- and long-term goals.
- Maximize your retirement-plan contributions.
Tax-managed retirement accounts are one of the most powerful ways to save for a more comfortable retirement, because they allow you to control your tax liabilities today — while accumulating assets for the future.
- Pay down high-interest debt.
Do not let high-interest debt keep you from getting ahead financially.
- Set goals for the future and work with a professional to help you achieve them.
People who set goals for themselves and create strategies to pursue them are much more likely to see success.
- Create a powerful legacy for the world.
A rich life involves more than financial success and a comfortable lifestyle. Give some thought to supporting your loved ones or causes near to your heart.
- Review your estate planning and legal documents.
If a few years have passed since you looked at your documents, dust them off and make sure that they still represent your wishes.
- Review the beneficiaries of your financial accounts and insurance policies.
You should periodically review and update your account beneficiaries to reflect life’s changes.
- Stay on top of your health.
Health care is a major expense for most Americans, especially if serious illness strikes. Take steps to protect your well being by building a healthy lifestyle and prioritizing preventive care.
- Protect your credit and identity.
Identity theft and financial fraud are serious threats that can compromise your financial well being. Protect yourself by reviewing financial statements and bills carefully for unauthorized activity. Regularly update your passwords for all financial accounts and always shred any sensitive documents before you dispose of them. Check your credit report for free each year at www.annualcreditreport.com.
- Review your tax strategies for potential savings.
Every dollar you save in taxes is one that you can reinvest in your current lifestyle or future goals. However, recent tax-law updates mean that your tax burden may have changed — or even increased.
- Involve your children and grandchildren in your finances.
Rather than keeping your finances private from your loved ones, we recommend including them in conversations about your goals and priorities.
- Schedule times to discuss finances with your spouse.
If you (or your spouse) rarely get involved in the family finances, now is the time to start.
- Identify your goals for 2017.
Whether you want to earn more money, go on a wonderful vacation, or spend more time with your family, take a moment now to write down your goals.
- Keep your financial resolutions.
Very few people keep their New Year’s resolutions — but by making your goals simple, specific and actionable, you can increase your chances of being among this select group. FBN
Keith Todhunter Schaafsma, MBA, Certified Financial Planner, is the Senior Investment Adviser at Ascendant Financial Solutions. She has been creating peace for her clients from financial chaos for over 20 years. She and her husband Pieter, an artist, love to travel and enjoy the wide-open spaces of the Southwest with their two cherished dogs.
Securities and Advisory services offered through Geneos Wealth Management, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory Services offered through Ascendant Financial Solutions, Inc.