What Are the Most Important Financial Resolutions I Should Have for 2019?
Everyone has different priorities but here are the top four I recommend:
Prepare for the Unexpected
Create an emergency savings account. The best line of defense against unexpected events is to have a liquid cash fund that can cover at least six months of living expenses or any large, unforeseen bills that are too high to pay out of your regular monthly income.
Evaluate your need for Long Term Care, Disability, and Umbrella insurance. Emergencies do happen, and your financial well-being could be undermined by outsized costs that might accompany an illness or injury, job loss, or even a storm that does major damage to your home.
Protect Your Estate
Review and update your estate documents. The primary purpose of a will is to ensure that your assets are distributed to whomever you choose, in the amount and manner that you choose. You may also want to consider establishing a living revocable trust. A trust is an agreement between the grantor (the person who establishes and funds it) and the trustee, who administers it. If you have a living trust you can leave all of your assets to the trust when you die, which can then be doled out by your terms through the trustee. A trust avoids the probate process and allows the heirs access to the trust assets more quickly.
Check your credit report. A more recent development in protecting your estate is monitoring your credit report for fraud and identity theft. You can retrieve a free report from www.annualcreditreport.com from all three agencies once a year. You may also want to consider hiring a company to monitor your credit and notify you if there are any changes.
Review your Life insurance needs. If something were to happen to you (or your spouse) how would it affect your dependents? Make sure you have appropriate coverage and that the benefices are up-to-date.
Change your passwords. It’s a good idea to change your financial account passwords periodically to avoid identity theft and fraud.
Optimize Your Portfolio
Consolidate your accounts. Do you have several 401(k) accounts from old employers? Multiple bank accounts? Consolidation can make maintenance and analysis easier and help lessen the risk of identity theft.
Review your Investments. Review your investments and make sure you have the proper investment mix and appropriate diversification that aligns with your goals and risk tolerance. Your Financial Advisor should be able to review your portfolio with you, or if you do not have an Advisor, many online investment accounts have built in tools for evaluating portfolio risk.
Evaluate your fees. Choosing low-cost investments and being aware of how much you are paying in fees can go a long way toward reducing the amount you pay to invest.
Create a Financial Plan
The key to long term financial success is having a plan. A financial plan provides a road map from your current financial situation to reach your future financial goals. A good financial plan will give you confidence and help you understand the steps you need to take to achieve your objectives.
A detailed financial plan includes multiple variables and strategies, covers risk management, asset allocation, tax planning, retirement and estate planning. If you have a large estate creating a financial plan can be confusing and time consuming. We recommend working with a good Financial Advisor who can help you navigate the process and keep you on track.
Author: Belle Schneider, CFP® AIF® is an Advisor at VLP Financial Advisors. She believes that strategic planning is the key to creating, protecting, and growing wealth.
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VLP Financial Advisors
8391 Old Courthouse Rd., Suite 203
Vienna, VA 22182
Belle Schneider is a Registered Representative of and offers securities and Advisory Services through Cetera Advisor Networks LLC, member FINRA/SIPC a Broker/Dealer and Registered Investment Adviser. Cetera is under separate ownership from any other named entity.