The beginning of the year is a great time to reorganize your financial goals and the way that you aim to reach them. Here are six top tips on taking control of your finances in the new year.
Sort and Digitize Paperwork
Get a head start on your paperwork this year. Organize all of your financial documents, bills and contracts prior to tax season. Invest in an inexpensive scanner and develop a process to scan in documents as you receive them. The end result is that you can keep documents received via email and snail mail in the same place. We all want that! Once you have everything scanned in, be sure to shred any important paper documents as an added measure of security. (For related reading, see: Top Financial Tips for Newlywed Couples.)
Create a Reminder System to Stay on Financial Tasks
Out of sight, out of mind is all too common when it comes to many important financial responsibilities. Create an annual routine that reminds you to perform those pesky tasks such as rebalancing your 401(k), reviewing your insurance beneficiaries and understanding your employee benefits and retirement plans. It might be as simple as entering recurring tasks on your digital calendar. If you have a smartphone, then you have a calendar app on your phone that could be used for this very purpose. Today many digital calendars on your phone can be synced with the email platform you use (Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook). This allows you to set reminders that will pop up not only on your phone but on your computer as well. So there are no excuses! (For related reading, see: 3 Financial Planning Lessons Learned From Golf.)
Max Out Your Retirement Contributions
Take a good look at all of your retirement accounts and make sure you know how much you and your employer are contributing. If you recently received a raise, consider increasing the amounts that you are contributing to your company retirement plan. Not only does it benefit you down the road, but it saves you in taxes now. Many companies have a deferred compensation or employee stock plan. Know your options.
Review Tax Withholdings
Did you receive a large tax refund last year? If you did, you gave the government an interest-free loan. That’s very nice of you but instead … you could be receiving those dollars throughout the year to save or help pay for a specific goal. If you had a life event last year such as getting married, getting divorced or having kids, make sure you change your withholdings accordingly. Try and break even on taxes—neither owing nor receiving money from Uncle Sam each year.
Update Estate Planning Documents
When was the last time you updated your estate documents, like wills, trusts, durable power of attorney, and medical directives? As life changes and we transition into different stages, it is important to re-read your documents and make sure they are up to date. If you don’t have these documents, this is the perfect time to get them completed.
Schedule Meetings With Your Team
The beginning of the year is a great time to schedule a financial checkup. A financial advisor can help you make sure all of the above tasks are completed and you are off to a productive 2017! (For related reading, see: 10 Ways to Cut Spending Before Retirement.)
Milestone Wealth Advisors, Inc. is a Registered Investment Advisor.