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As you head into a new year, it's important to reassess your financial goals and make any necessary adjustments to your financial plan and investment strategy. Here are some financial planning and investment considerations to keep in mind:
Review and Update Your Financial Goals
Take the time to assess your financial goals, both short-term and long-term. Consider your priorities, such as saving for retirement, buying a home, or paying for your children's education. Make sure your goals are specific and quantifiable. Instead of saying "save money," specify an amount or percentage of your income. Ensure that your goals are achievable and realistic given your current financial situation.
Create or Adjust Your Budget
The end of the year is a great time to take a look at annual spending. Start by tracking your current expenses to get a clear picture of where your money is going. Create a budget that aligns with your financial goals. Allocate a portion of your income to savings and investments. Monitor your budget throughout the year and make adjustments as needed.
Having an emergency fund is crucial for financial security. Aim to have at least three to six months' worth of living expenses saved in a liquid and easily accessible account. If you don't have an emergency fund, make it a priority to build one in the new year.
Review your outstanding debts and interest rates. Prioritize paying off high-interest debts first, as they can erode your financial progress. Consider consolidation or refinancing options if it can help lower your interest rates and make debt repayment more manageable.
Stay informed about changes in tax laws and regulations that may affect your financial situation. Maximize your tax-advantaged accounts, such as contributing the maximum allowable amount to your employer-sponsored retirement plan and taking advantage of tax credits and deductions. And make sure you have taken your Required Minimum Distributions for the year, if you are over the age of 72.
Evaluate your retirement savings goals. Are you on track to meet your retirement needs? Consider increasing your contributions to retirement accounts, especially if you receive a raise or bonus in the new year. Revisit your retirement portfolio's asset allocation to ensure it aligns with your risk tolerance and time horizon.
Define your investment objectives and risk tolerance. Your investment strategy should align with your goals. Diversify your portfolio across different asset classes, such as stocks, bonds, real estate, and alternative investments, to spread risk. Rebalance your portfolio periodically to maintain your target asset allocation.
Research potential investments thoroughly. Understand the risks and potential returns associated with each investment. Consider low-cost, diversified investment options, like index funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), which can help reduce fees and improve long-term returns.
Stay updated on economic and market trends by reading financial news, following reputable sources, and staying informed about global events that may impact your investments. Avoid making impulsive decisions based on short-term market fluctuations. Focus on your long-term investment strategy.
Consider consulting with a financial advisor or planner, especially if you have complex financial goals or investment needs. Legal and tax professionals can provide guidance on estate planning and tax optimization strategies.
Review and update your estate plan to ensure it reflects your current wishes and circumstances. Make sure you have a valid will, trusts, and updated beneficiary designations on your accounts.
Assess your insurance coverage, including health, life, disability, and property insurance. Ensure that you have adequate coverage to protect your assets and loved ones.
Maintain discipline in sticking to your financial plan and investment strategy. Avoid emotional decisions during market volatility. Regularly monitor your progress and make adjustments as needed throughout the year to stay on track with your financial goals.
Remember that financial planning is an ongoing process. Regularly revisit and adjust your financial plan as your life circumstances change, and stay focused on your long-term objectives, even when faced with short-term market fluctuations or economic uncertainties.
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Past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Chicago Partners Investment Group LLC (“CP”), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this commentary will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this commentary serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from CP. Please remember to contact CP, in writing, if there are any changes in your personal/financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing/evaluating/revising our previous recommendations and/or services, or if you would like to impose, add, or to modify any reasonable restrictions to our investment advisory services. CP is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the commentary content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of the CP’s current written disclosure Brochure discussing our advisory services and fees continues to remain available upon request.