It’s that time of year again when we reflect on the past year and re-evaluate our goals for the future. Whether or not you’re a believer in making New Year’s resolutions, it’s always a good time to assess your priorities and consider making some adjustments to help keep you on track. That goes for your money, also, and as you wrap up the year with celebrations and well wishes, why not set aside some time to evaluate your financial progress and set yourself up for success in 2022? Here’s a quick checklist to get you started.
2022 Wealth Resolution Checklist
- What are your overall financial objectives? Time for a goal-check. This isn’t as much about numbers as what you want to achieve in life. If you are still accumulating wealth and earning an income, what do you want to accomplish in the short and long term? What do the next 5, 10, and 20 years look like to you? Have any of your life goals shifted over time? If you’re retired or living on a fixed income, are you satisfied with your quality of life? Do you have any financial concerns you’d like to mitigate? Based on this information, your advisor can advise you to pivot where appropriate to keep you headed in the right direction.
- Are you maximizing your retirement options? If you’re still earning income, you may consider increasing your 401k contributions annually if possible (the maximum in 2021 is $19,500 if you are under 50 or $26,000 if you are over 50). You can also look into IRA contributions if you are eligible until the tax-filing deadline. Ask your advisor how you might take advantage of any additional retirement plans that can be customized based on your needs and your situation. If you are already retired, don’t forget that the 2020 break from making Required Minimum Distributions (RMD) contributions is over. However, there is still a qualified charitable distribution exclusion where you can have money transferred directly from an IRA to a public charity. If charitable giving is part of your plan, there are ways to minimize your tax impacts.
- Are you comfortable with your budget? It is critical to always know where your money is going. How was your spending in 2021 versus your income? How much did you save? Awareness is key to understanding your money habits. In theory, you should have a surplus of funds after your expenses are covered, which can be distributed in many ways (retirement, savings, rainy day funds, significant purchases, gifting, etc.) Your advisor can help you create a path to reach larger financial milestones while also advising you on achieving short-term goals.
- Have you reviewed your insurance policies lately? It’s common for us to think of life insurance or long-term care insurance as something we take care of once and then forget about until an emergency occurs. However, there are many instances in life where an event or a milestone can alter your needs for coverage. A change in family status (having a child, getting a divorce, getting married, or losing a family member), retirement milestones, or professional transitions like selling a business are all possible life events that change your financial needs. Keep your advisor up to date on life changes!
- Are your documents in order and up to date? Like insurance coverage, it’s essential to review your will, healthcare directive and assess estate planning regularly. It’s never a good idea to leave your estate to chance, or worse, put documents in place that are outdated and don’t reflect your current wishes.
- Are you making tax-wise decisions in your portfolio? Look at rebalancing your accounts and after-tax accounts. With so many proposed tax changes, it’s important to keep your advisor and your tax professional informed of any life changes and milestones.
- Who is on your professional team? In addition to a financial advisor, having a financial team with expertise in tax planning, estates and trusts, and insurance can make the difference in achieving your goals and playing catch up. Having these professionals work together on your behalf brings peace of mind for the future and offers you the knowledge to make sound decisions about your money.
We all get distracted in our day-to-day responsibilities, and obstacles and unexpected surprises are destined to make guest appearances in your life along the way. As your financial advisor will tell you, it all comes back to understanding your long-term strategy to achieve your goals. If you ever lose sight of the path, your advisor is there as your accountability partner, guiding you back and articulating your “WHY” and your “HOW.” As in “Why am I taking these particular financial steps,” or “How will taking these steps get me to where I want to go?” Again, even if you aren’t sold on New Year’s resolutions, making a point to continually connect with your advisor to assess the financial results you aim to achieve is key to ensuring your goals become reality. The financial advisors at BerganKDV can help guide you through every stage of your financial life. Want to learn more about what we can do for you? Let’s have a conversation.
The views and strategies described may not be suitable for all investors. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for accounting, legal or tax advice. References to future returns are not promises or even estimates of actual returns a client portfolio may achieve. Any forecasts contained herein are for illustrative purposes only and are not to be relied upon as advice or interpreted as a recommendation.
The views expressed are those of BerganKDV Wealth Management. They are subject to change at any time. These views do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any other firm. Investment advisory services and fee-based planning offered through BerganKDV Wealth Management, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor.