If you haven’t done your physical check-up yet this year, you should make your appointment … but what we’re focused on today is your mid-year financial check-up.
Checking in at regular intervals with finances is just as important as evaluating your physical health - after all, we want to make sure that what’s happened so far this year and what you have set up for the second half of the year still aligns with your long-term goals!
Greg Hammer, a financial professional in Schererville, Indiana, makes a great point on this topic: “If you’re in tune with your investments and in touch with your financial professional, you are less likely to panic when the market starts to correct ...You are less likely to make emotional decisions that can negatively impact your returns.”
So let’s get into how exactly this is done!
Check your retirement contributions
If your company has a matching 401k plan, do your absolute best to match at least what they will contribute on your behalf. If you don’t, you’re essentially missing out on free money! If you’re not able to do that, consider putting any bonuses you receive, like maybe one resulting from a mid-year review, towards your retirement account. Even if your contributions are small, the sooner you start saving for your future, the better!
Take a look at your debts, perhaps with your financial advisor, and evaluate how those can be chipped away at, or better yet, eliminated. Keep in mind that certain types of debt like student loans or a mortgage are sometimes necessary and unavoidable, but one big debt accumulator that isn’t necessary is credit card interest. So take a look at what the rate is for every credit card you have and starting with the highest one, work to pay the debt off while continuing to meet the monthly payment due. That way, you are paying off the debt, not accruing more interest due and avoiding any late fees. You can continue this process with other credit cards in your effort to become debt free.
What’s Your Emergency Fund Look Like?
Having a chunk of liquid funds available equal to about 3 or so months is critical for, well, emergencies! If you’re working towards putting this money aside, set aside a realistic amount every paycheck, (keeping paying off debts and towards retirement in mind) until you’ve reached your goal. Because this isn’t necessarily a huge amount of money, you might even be able to have some fun putting it together! Do you have an espresso machine you hardly touch or a vintage lamp that doesn’t suit your style? Consider hosting a garage sale! Are you an animal lover? Consider offering dog walking or pet sitting services for a little side cash!
Keep Diligent Records
This is probably the most tedious but critical of all of these steps - tracking every cent you spend at least for a month and putting that into a spreadsheet. Unfortunately, some of the tools that are incredibly helpful in our everyday lives, like auto-pay for your bills or memberships, and even credit cards can actually push us to overspend, since we don’t ‘feel’ every dollar we spend quite as easily. In doing this exercise, you’ll likely have an eye-opening moment or two - maybe that a membership you thought you canceled a year ago has still been running, or perhaps your daily coffee break is costing more than you thought! Give this one a shot!
It might seem premature to think about taxes right now, but by meeting with your tax professional mid year, you can get personalized guidance on withholding allowances to help you maximize your future tax refund or take-home pay.
Phew! That was a lot of information. Does accomplishing all of this feel like a game of ‘Whack-a Mole’?
We totally understand!!
LET US PERFORM YOUR FINANCIAL CHECK-UP AND HELP YOU NAVIGATE YOUR WEALTH