Planning Your Financial Fourth Quarter
The last quarter of any year can be scary. Whether it is financial and familial pressures, it can certainly feel like everything during the year has built up to be finally dealt with now. It does not have to be that way. In fact, it should be a motivational and magical time of year!
I’m often asked if I have a checklist that can help you prepare for next year. Yes, I do!
Of course, there are certain healthy financial topics that need to be checked off your list to ensure that you stay on path to financial independence.
First, I recommend reviewing the overall plan that you laid out for 2022. If you haven’t built a plan, don’t worry, that can be a new year’s resolution!
A great financial plan should include:
- Checking in on Retirement: Your Savings/Pace, Performance, Income, and Taxes
- Investment allocations
- Taking a closer look at your liabilities and debts.
I believe that if you make time for this, you will see that it is not as daunting of an endeavor as you thought. Financial Planning does not need to be scary! Believe it or not, It can renew your goals, make you are hopeful, and in turn motivate you!! Only a few minutes spent on reviewing your student loans or portfolios can ease your mind allowing you to spend more time with your family and friends enjoying the holidays!
When you sit down to review the areas mentioned above, here are four key points to consider
1. Retirement: It is important to understand how much you contributed for the year. Are you on a good pace (Max contributions for 2022: $20,500, $27,000, or $61,000). Are your allocations correct for what is going on in the world? Have those allocations shifted due to market performance, and should you rebalance them? Lastly, what is your pace? What kind of income are you expecting, and are you on track to achieve that? If you’ve already maxed out your retirement plan, don’t lose out on saving those dollars continually in other places. Don’t get stuck trying to plan your retirement after your children are gone. It is an ongoing process!
2. Tax Planning: You should understand by the last quarter if you are going to owe or get a refund from the government. It’ll be nice to know if there is money coming in or going out, so you know how to plan your cash flow for the holidays. And if we are early enough in the quarter, there are multiple things that can be done to harvest some tax issues, whether it be investment related or income related.
3. Investments: Towards the end of each year, look at your strategies to make sure that they are still on track from what you believed in the beginning of the year. Investment Rebalancing is important for your growth and safety. If one section of your portfolio has done well or poorly, reallocating some funds back into the original allocations can keep you safe, while also getting you a truer performance. Can you tax harvest any losses or gains? Did you want to add or lower your deposits before the end of the year? Should we be preparing for anything in the following year that we can get a head start on now?
4. Liabilities and Debts: The end of the year is always a good time to look at all your protection coverages. The 4th quarter is the time of year where every major company (Life, Disability, Auto, and Home Insurer) is under pressure to make their year-end numbers. There may be opportunities to take advantage of programs that are offered. For debt, you should always review the balance, the rate, and does the monthly payment fit your needs. If not, then how can we fix or replace this? Debt does not have to be the “scarlet letter” on your chest that holds you back from the things you want to accomplish. It needs to be reviewed and managed.
If you take the time and attack these topics early in the quarter, there’s a lot that you can accomplish quickly. Sometimes, just knowing where you stand, even without any changes can make all the difference in the world.
The last quarter of the year should be about spending time with your loved ones and reflecting on all the amazing things that you accomplished throughout the year. Hopefully, the financial tips listed above can give you some guidance and peace of mind.
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me.