Financial Fitness: Challenge Yourself
This New Year, legions of people will pledge to overhaul their lives by eating right, exercising regularly, learning new job skills and more. What you don’t hear a lot about are people who make the ultimate New Year’s resolution — to organize every aspect of their financial lives.
We’ve organized the steps required to help get your financial life in peak condition. It’s not so hard when you take it one step at a time. We are here to help coach you through each monthly challenge.
January - ASSESS
You might work with a nutritionist to eat better, a trainer to get in shape and a mentor to learn new job skills. Why not work with a financial professional to assess your current financial situation and the work ahead of you?
February - PLAN
Write down your short-term goals. Marriage or a first home? And then intermediate goals – maybe a bigger home or a child’s college costs. Next, ask yourself what you want to achieve 25 or 30 years from now. A comfortable retirement? Leaving loved ones a financial legacy?
March - BUDGET
Now figure out a financial path to help achieve your goals. Start with a budget. Add your debts and income sources separately. Subtract your debt from income to get disposable income. Then make a budget and stick to it.
April - REDUCE
As spring arrives, spring into action by preparing to better your current finances. Cut your debt where possible, particularly high-interest revolving credit. Add to your income, especially if you have a skill that lends itself to part-time work.
May - SAVE
Put the money you save from reducing debt and earn from side jobs, raises and bonuses into accounts designated for each goal. Saving for retirement should be a priority.
June - PROTECT
You don’t think twice about protecting the value of your home and car with insurance. Why not do the same for your income? Buy life insurance to protect your loved ones financially and disability income insurance to protect your income in the event a long-term disability prevents you from working.
July - INVEST
Put your money where it can help you best meet particular goals. Understand what you invest in and take advantage of investment options that offer tax benefits.
August - RETIRE
The steps you take now will influence your financial readiness in retirement. Don’t put off saving for this important goal because using time to your advantage may help your money grow. And don’t forget to contribute at least whatever your employer matches to your 401(k) plan.
September - GRADUATE
This will probably come before retirement, but remember that while you can always borrow for a child’s college expenses, you can’t for your retirement. Use the tax advantages of 529 plans and Coverdell Education Savings Accounts to save specifically for school costs.
October - ENROLL
This is the time of year to review and select the benefits your employer offers during open enrollment.
November - GIVE
Contribute to charitable organizations. It feels good and you may get tax advantages for it. Also, you can benefit loved ones with an annual gifting strategy during your lifetime.
December - REVIEW
Life happens. For example, your priorities might change and insurance needs generally change with age. Make sure to review your financial strategy regularly with your financial and tax professionals.
The content of this document was created and provided by LTM Client Marketing, Inc.. Schwartz Financial Associates, Inc and LTM Client Marketing, Inc. are unrelated companies. This publication was prepared for the publication’s provider by LTM Client Marketing, an unrelated third party. Articles are not written or produced by the named representative. For a comprehensive review of your personal situation, always consult with a tax or legal advisor. Neither Cetera Advisor Networks LLC nor any of its representatives may give legal or tax advice.