4 Tips: 2020 Year-end Financial Checkup
For many Lakewood, CO residents, and beyond, this year couldn’t end soon enough. From COVID-19 to political and societal unrest it’s understandable investors want to forget 2020. But before we put the year behind us for good, it’s prudent to conduct a year-end financial checkup. Think of it as your annual physical but for your finances.
A year-end financial checkup gives you a chance to assess how you did during the past twelve months and determine if you’re on track to meet your financial goals for the coming year. It’s particularly important as we head into a period that could be marked by a lot of uncertainty and volatility.
There is no one financial check-up that fits all investors, but there are some key components that should be included. From assessing your goals to making sure investments are on track, here’s how to conduct a year-end financial checkup.
Assess your goals
A lot has happened since the start of 2020 that may have changed your outlook or altered your goals. Those shifts in your short term and long-term plans have a direct impact on your budget, savings, and investments.
Let’s say you decided you want to stay close to your family instead of traveling the world when you retire. You may need to amass less for retirement and as a result, can change your risk tolerance. Or you may be among the millions that were laid off or furloughed during the pandemic, which has thrown your savings and plans off track.
The end of the year is the perfect time to take stock of all that and reassess your goals, make changes, and/or add new ones. If everything stays the same great, but if your outlook is different it could be time for help from an investment planner. A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional in Lakewood, CO can ensure you achieve your short and long-term objectives.
Check your budget and debts
The pandemic has been a tale of the haves and the have nots. On one side are Americans who have maintained their salaries and are seeing their investments grow. On the other side are the millions of people and thousands of small businesses that have suffered from the coronavirus. Regardless of which camp you fall in, the end-of-the-year should be a time to review your budget to ensure it still makes sense for your current financial situation.
Go over the money you spent on everything from groceries to housing during the year and try to identify areas where you may have spent more than you planned. Use that to build a budget for 2021, considering any increases or decreases in income that could impact how much discretionary money you have. If possible, find ways to curb spending to free up more cash that can be saved or invested.
Together with budgeting is debt management. The more debt you have the harder it becomes to stick to a budget. Use the last few weeks of 2020 to get a clear picture of how much money you owe and how much you paid off.
Did you pay your bills on time? Did you take on new debt? Were you able to reduce the amount you owed?
If a debt is piling up you may want to rework your approach to debt reduction. It could mean embracing a different style of paying it off or consolidating high-interest debt. The aim is to lower the amount you owe and the interest you pay on it. That will free up more money that can go toward lowering the balance.
Ideally, you want to end the year knowing how much money is in the bank, how much is being saved, how much you owe, and how you’ll achieve your financial goals in 2021
Go over your investment plan
Whether your portfolio needs a good rebalancing, or you want to dial back on risk, the end of the year is the perfect time to review your investment plan and performance over the year. If you have too much exposure in one area you may want to shift investments.
This is where a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional comes in. A CFP® brings a wealth of knowledge about investing, wealth and tax management, and retirement and estate planning to the table. They can help devise an investment plan that meets your new level of risk, accounting for your goals and time horizon. A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional can also help you minimize your tax exposure by employing strategies such as tax-loss harvesting.
The world has changed since the pandemic. What mattered before may not anymore. That could be true about how you want to live out your retirement years or what you can now afford. Your plans may be altered because of tragedy or because of a new outlook on life. Either way, you want to make sure your retirement savings plan will meet those new goals.
Depending on the changes it could mean ramping up savings, chasing more growth, or dialing back your dreams to meet your new realities. A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional can guide you through that. Applying a holistic approach to financial planning, they will create a comprehensive plan considering your situation now and well into the future.
A year-end financial checkup may not be as appealing as producing your list of New Year’s resolutions, but it’s equally if not more important. Knowing what worked and didn’t in a year marked by devastation and uncertainty, can help you map out a better financial future.
The CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professionals and Certified Estate Planners™ at The Normandy Group offer serious financial planning and investment management for today’s complex world. By combining tax, financial, and estate planning strategies we can help you achieve your goals. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation.
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