With the July 4th weekend come and gone, your thoughts are hopefully turning to a mid-year review of your finances. In doing this review, here are five items to consider:
How are you progressing versus your financial planning goals? Assuming you have a financial plan in place, this is a good point in the year to review your progress toward goals such as retirement and saving for college. If you don't have a financial plan or if your plan is many years out of date, this is a great time to get one in place.
Are your investments properly allocated? A key element of your financial plan should be an asset allocation strategy for your investments. As in most years, some investment categories have done well, others not as well. Mid-year is a good time to review your portfolio's overall allocation and rebalance as needed.
If you are self-employed, have you started a retirement plan for yourself? You work hard to grow your business and serve your clients. There are many options available to you ranging from a Solo 401(k) to many other options. What is best for you will depend in part on factors such as whether or not you have employees, the predictability of your company's cash flow, and the amount you are willing to contribute. Whichever plan you choose, start a retirement plan for yourself. You deserve it.
Parents of minors, have you made provisions for your children in the event of your death? Do you have a will? Have you selected a guardian for your children in the event of your premature death? Have you selected someone to administer your estate and your assets for the benefit of the children? If not you should consider consulting an estate planning attorney today.
Is it time to finally get the financial planning help you need? Maybe you don't want to spend the money. Maybe you are convinced you can do this yourself. In reality, ask yourself a few questions:
Do I devote time to my finances and investments on a regular basis?
Does my portfolio consist of a random collection of stocks, mutual funds, and other investments (financial clutter)?
Do you know how much you will need to accumulate for financial goals such as retirement or college?
Do you have a clue how your investments are performing? Do you benchmark your portfolio's performance? Do you review your investments as a portfolio, or just as individual holdings?
Managing your financial future is critical to meeting your goals, and it isn't always as easy as it looks. If you don't like your answers to these questions, consider hiring a fee-only financial adviser to help you.
July 4th has come and gone. Take the time to sit down and take stock of where you are financially at mid-year. It's easy to put this off, but the rewards of staying on top of your finances can pay off for a lifetime.
Roger Wohlner , CFP®, is a fee-only financial adviser at Asset Strategy Consultants based in Arlington Heights, Ill. where he provides advice to individual clients, retirement plan sponsors, foundations, and endowments. He recently cofounded Retirement Fiduciary Advisors to provide direct investment and retirement planning advice to 401(k) plan participants. Follow Roger on Twitter and LinkedIn.