Are You Fiscally Fit for 2018?

Are you ready to get “fiscally fit” for 2018? We want to help you work toward making this a successful and prosperous year, so we updated our checklist with pointers for getting a head start on the new year.

1. Retirement Account Review

Take a look at all retirement accounts, specifically to see if the beneficiaries are correct and current. Generally, we recommend contributing as much to your retirement plans as possible/practical, whether it is a ROTH IRA, Traditional IRA or 401k plan. Also check to see if the retirement accounts are reinvesting the dividends to help keep your accounts growing. This is a good time to see how the funds are allocated and diversified. If they’re not, consider shuffling some things around.

2. Taxable Account Review

Similar to the review of your retirement accounts, look for balance, diversification and reinvestment of dividends. Your decision to sell an investment should not be based only on taxes, but also future potential. Don’t let taxes be your only reason for exiting a particular investment.

3. Insurance Review

It’s a good idea to review the many types of insurance policies you own from life insurance, annuities, and disability insurance to homeowners and long-term care insurance. Ask yourself “what-if” type questions. Also check the policies that have beneficiaries, and determine if they are still correct?

4. What about a will?

Do you have one? Has it been updated lately? If not, update it. Review the existing will for accuracy and alignment with your wishes. If you don’t have a will, start the process. Another consideration is to put together a healthcare power of attorney. It could come in handy one day.

5. Budgeting and Tracking of Expenses

Prepare a realistic annual budget and track spending throughout the year. It’s a crucial step to optimizing income and saving more each year.

6. Prepare a Financial Snapshot

Now is an excellent time to summarize assets and liabilities. Compare this year’s position with the past years’ and note any new progress toward long-term goals.

7. Minimize Debt

Debt reduction/elimination never goes out of season. If possible, pay down some debt and start 2018 with a clean slate.

8. Review Your Credit Score

Each year you can review your credit scores from the three major credit scoring agencies at AnnualCreditReport.com. It is the only authorized source for the free annual credit report that is yours by law. Look for any unusual activity or errors.

9. Get Organized for 2017 Taxes

Continue to accumulate documentation for tax year 2017 in a folder including amounts of estimated tax payments made and the dates of payment, closing statements for any refinance or new home purchases. Also include cost basis information for investment sales.

10. Charitable Giving

Pick a favorite charity or organization and make a donation! If you itemize deductions, you may do some good and reduce your taxable income as well.

There are many things to review at this time of year, and a little attention to your finances can go a long way to making 2018 a happy and prosperous year. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Steve Booren

Steve Booren

Steve started his investment career in 1978 with the NYSE investment firm EF Hutton, working in the environment of a large investment company. Desiring to provide clients with objective investment advice, he founded Prosperion Financial Advisors. Learn more about Steve here.

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The payment of dividends is not guaranteed. Companies may reduce or eliminate the payment of dividends at any given time.
This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax or legal advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific situation with a qualified tax or legal advisor.
There is no guarantee that a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk.
There is no assurance that the techniques and strategies discussed are suitable for all investors or will yield positive outcomes. The purchase of certain securities may be required to effect some of the strategies. Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal.