Congratulations on making it through 2015! This past year we experienced global tragedies, the start of a long presidential race, a large decline in oil and gas prices, and a very volatile stock market. Now is the time to get a plan in place for 2016. Below are possible ways to improve your situation and protect your future.
I have said this in past posts, but the most important starting point is a budget. Figure out what you need to pay for bills and expenses, put a set dollar amount aside for a “rainy day fund,” and contribute the rest to an account designed for retirement (401k, IRA, etc.).
The next item of planning for the year ahead should be to consult your financial advisor and/or tax professional. During this meeting you should discuss your goals for the year, any monetary necessities (purchase of house, car, etc.), and your individual tax situation so you are ready when April 15 comes around. It's also imperative to review your risk tolerance so changes and/or a rebalancing of your portfolio can be addressed.
Throughout the year, make sure you revisit your budget monthly so you stick to it. While checking your budget, you should also check or discuss your portfolio with your advisor to ensure the plan you put in place in the beginning of the year is still working. Staying diligent with your budget and keeping an eye on your investments are an easy way to help move towards your financial goals.
A new year means new goals and new challenges. The best way to combat challenges and achieve your goals is to stick to your plan. Consult with your advisor quarterly to make sure investments are on track. Here’s to a great year ahead.