There are 336 days left in 2020 and only 49 days until spring! If you’re counting, there are still 124 days before summer shows up. That gives us time to get our financial house in order before midyear. We are almost through January so the last couple days of this month can be used to gather your tax documents in preparation for the task we all dread.
If you haven’t mapped out major spending this year, give that some time before we roll into February. Just the word ‘BUDGET’ paralyzes some of us. So, play semantics and view it through the lens of intentional spending. Spending is the gas guzzling engine that can keep our larger dreams at bay. Think about how you want to spend intentionally and let the impulse purchases pass like a bad food craving.
If you celebrate Valentine’s Day, know that choosing a mate is a financial decision. Not romantic, I know, but divorce and debt are not romantic either. If you already have a mate and it’s not going as well as you’d like, consider talking to a financial therapist.
Make any IRA or retirement plan contributions for last year before the deadline in April takes away your choice.
File your taxes, adjust your withholding if needed, and take your RMD (Required Minimum Distribution) if you are required to do so.
Your taxes are done so this is a good time to review your investments, make sure your emergency fund is at the level you need, and make an intentional spending plan just for the holidays this year. Then, keep an eye out for great deals on the gifts you would buy anyway in case availability or price become an issue before the end of the year.
Midyear is the time you (and especially business owners) should get a tax review so “year-end planning” can start now.
It’s summer and the livin’ is easy. Go play, travel, be with friends & family. Follow your heart and enjoy your life (this is good for every month) and we really do find that those able to live the concept of “enough” (warning: the author uses graphic language to make his points). Here’s a softer version of the same idea – Disease of More.
I like this month for doing a two hour insurance check. Take your policies (or let us help you) and shop them with your current carriers and two new ones. See if a change in coverage or the cost of coverage is in order.
Maybe it’s because the days will soon be darker, but this is a good month to make sure your estate planning documents are in order. This is also the month many of our clients travel. If something happened to you, would anyone be able to access your digital accounts? Think about digital estate planning this month too.
All eyes on health insurance. If you’re enrolled in Medicare, do you have the best supplemental and drug plans? If you have private pay health insurance, sit down with us to review your actual spending and out of pocket on health, dental & vision services. If you are a dual income family, is your family on the best company plan?
Those 300+ days went fast, didn’t they? Set up any retirement plans for the year if they are not yet in place. Spend the rest of that flexible spending account. Give your chosen charities your gifts before year-end. Sell any investment positions for a loss if that fits in your planning. Front-load any medical expenses if you are close to getting a deduction.
Phew! Congratulate yourself on paying attention to the things that matter most, which includes your money (of course) and is centered on the best days of our lives. Make sure they are sprinkled throughout the year and not just in the summers of our life.
Bonnie A. Sewell, CFP®,CDFA™,AIF®,CEPA® is NOT AN ATTORNEY AND DOES NOT PROVIDE LEGAL ADVICE. All information he provides is financial in nature and should not be construed or relied upon as legal or tax advice. Individuals seeking legal or tax advice should solicit the counsel of competent legal professionals knowledgeable about the divorce laws in their own geographical areas or CPAs qualified to provide tax advice.
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