Have you noticed? There are a lot of news headlines these days, much surrounding money and financial security. So much noise and advice coming at you from all angles.
What are you supposed to do with all of this information?
Do any of these unsolicited suggestions sound familiar?
“Move your investments to cash, stay invested so you don’t lose purchasing power, open a Roth IRA, pay off your mortgage, don’t pay off your mortgage, add more to your 401K, save somewhere other than your 401k, refinance, don’t refinance, buy an annuity, don’t buy an annuity, buy stocks, buy bonds, buy gold!!!”
WAIT…STOP!! TIME OUT!
Do you ever feel like everyone has the best solution for you even though you never asked for their opinion?
We know most people in our lives have the best intentions, but here is the truth. You need to determine what is right for you and your family. Comparing ourselves to others becomes a slippery slope and everyone’s situation is unique.
Take time to look into your own financial health. As we enter into the fourth quarter of 2022 here are some things to think about:
- Look over your investments and do a fourth-quarter review. Compared to the markets, what is your portfolio return for the year? Do any adjustments need to be made?
- Go over your insurance policies (health, life and property casualty). Is what you are paying for these policies still in line with your budget? Does the original reason you needed coverage still exist or should you look at other insurance products? Do you need more or less insurance in the coming year? Do your deductibles need to be adjusted?
- Plan for large expenses coming up in the next 6-12 months. There are specific expenses that only come up twice a year (property taxes, homeowner’s insurance) but there are other maintenance or household expenses that you know will become reality within the next year. Review these expenses and strategize how to cover them.
- Review your credit card rewards and offerings and check your credit score. As interest rates increase, the cost of borrowing money could get more expensive.
- Get ahead of next year’s tax return and revisit your tax withholdings. Did you receive a robust return for 2021 either through federal or state taxes? If so, are you having too much withheld throughout the year, either through your payroll deductions or retirement distributions? Remember, the state of Iowa passed new legislation. As of January 1, 2023 you are no longer required to withhold state taxes from retirement account distributions (IRAs, pensions, etc.). Contact your financial representative and CPA to see if this a viable option for you.
- Contribute to a health savings account (HSA). Health Savings Accounts are the new version of the historic Flex Savings Account. HSAs are funded with after-tax dollars, the account grows tax deferred and if used for medical expenses can be withdrawn tax free. These funds could potentially be used for health insurance premiums as well.
- Consider charitable donations as holiday gifts. Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) can be used to fund your charitable contributions when done correctly. Make sure to consult your financial adviser and your CPA to discuss the potential tax benefits.
- Set up your social security account sooner than later. Visit www.ssa.gov to create an account to track your Social Security benefits. Estimates no longer come to you in the mail so this is a great resource. This account will come in very handy when it comes time to claim your Social Security benefits as well as signing up for Medicare.
- Double-check your designated beneficiaries. Remember that your investment account beneficiary designations trump all estate planning language. Look over how you have instructed your heirs to receive your assets.
When you take time at the end of the year to look back at how far you’ve come and what steps you still need to take to plan ahead for a healthy financial future you’ll feel more in control of your money and your life.
Consider sitting down with someone who can help you identify what your dreams and goals are. From there you can set priorities and then create and implement a financial plan.
With all of the noise out there right now go ahead and turn down the volume, listen into your own life and dream big.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.