As we enter the second half of 2014, this is a good time to look back at the first six months of the year to see how you are faring financially. We recommend that clients conduct a mid-year financial review to check in on their investments, budgets, savings and tax planning to see if adjustments need to be made.
Here are a few key items to look at during your semi-annual financial review:
Investments: How did your investments perform this year? Better than expected, worse than expected or about the same? Talk to your investment advisor to see if you want to make adjustments, including rebalancing your portfolio if your personal or business risk profile (your willingness and ability to take risks) has changed.
Savings: Have you reached your savings goals yet this year, or do you need to step it up a bit? Consider making an automatic transfer each month from checking to savings to ensure that you are saving consistently. This applies to retirement savings as well as traditional savings. Don’t wait until the end of the year to try to catch up.
401(k) plan: If you are contributing to an employer-sponsored 401(k) plan, look at your investments to see how they’re performing. Have you experienced any gains this year, or did you lose money on your investments? Are new funds available that better suit your needs? Can you afford to increase your contributions to get the maximum match from your employer? Discuss your 401(k)’s performance with your financial advisor to see if it is beneficial to make changes. Your plan sponsor – the employer – may also have additional information about the investments in your 401(k) plan.
Tax withholding: Now that you’ve made it through half the year, you probably have a good idea whether or not your tax withholding is adequate. Do you need to adjust your withholding to ensure that you don’t underpay your taxes, or perhaps you’ve had a child and are eligible for an additional exemption? The IRS offers a tax withholding calculator to help you determine if you need to make adjustments. This is particularly true if you are a business owner paying quarterly taxes. Are you paying enough?
Other areas to consider for your review: insurance, medical spending, quarterly tax payments and budget adjustments. Contact your investment advisor to discuss these critical components to your financial success. It might take a little time, but that is time – and money – well spent.