Do you remember the last time you reviewed your financial goals and your portfolio? Matthew Henry of Sikich Financial suggests a few ways to improve your investments by reevaluating your goals.
Ipring is the time of year when we tend to lace up those running shoes that have been hiding in the back of the closet and to work on getting physically fit. Why stop there? This is the perfect opportunity to become financially fit, as well. The following questions will help you get your financial goals headed down the right path.
What are your financial goals?
Defining your goals is the starting point of the planning process. Goals should be clear and specific, such as, “I would like to retire at age 62 with 75 percent of my current income” or “I would like to pay for my grandchild’s education expenses.” Specific goals also need to be realistic. Starting with a specific and realistic goal enables your financial advisor to build a strategy around that goal. Goal setting shouldn’t be just a one-time event. You should revisit your goals annually, with your financial advisor, to ensure that as a team you are on track to meet your goals and objectives.
Has anything changed during the past year?
Did you start a new business? Was there a new addition to the family? Did you get married or divorced? Did you make a career change? Did you purchase a new home and/or sell your home? Has your family income had a significant increase or decrease? Most importantly, what is the outlook for this year? Changes that can affect your budget, income and savings can have a direct impact on the way in which your investments are managed and should be proactively discussed with your financial advisor.
Have any of the life changes above affected the way in which your will or estate plan was prepared?
When was the last time you reviewed your will – does it need to be updated in light of recent tax law changes? Are your beneficiaries accurately listed on your accounts? Do you need to change or add beneficiaries to your retirement accounts?
From a risk assessment point of view, are you protected?
I encourage our clients to collect their life insurance, disability and long-term care policies and make a list of what is currently in force. The list should include the company, policy number, contact person, cost, benefit total and whether the insurance is permanent or provided by your employer. Next, calculate if the total is enough to meet your goals and objectives for your family if something were to happen to you. What is the difference between your permanent insurance (that which you have purchased) versus insurance provided by your employer? If you changed employers, how would that affect your insurance coverage? Have you or your advisor reviewed the policies lately to determine if you have adequate coverage?
When your policies were purchased, you may have made certain assumptions about your future needs, interest rates, planned premiums and other issues. The original reason for your purchase may still exist; however, your needs may have changed, requiring more or less coverage. Lastly, keep the insurance list you’ve made in a safe place and ensure that your spouse or family can locate the list if the unexpected occurs.
Is your current portfolio in line with your time horizon and risk tolerance?
Do you consider yourself a conservative investor but have 80 percent of your portfolio in stocks? In many situations, it makes sense to realize a gain to get your portfolio to the appropriate asset allocation – the amount in fixed income compared to equities. What amount of cash flow do you require on an annual basis? You should have an asset allocation that takes into consideration your time horizon, risk tolerance and cash flow needs.
Are you maximizing your retirement savings?
If you’re not contributing to your 401(k) hopefully there is a good reason, like paying off debt or saving for an emergency fund. If those are not the reasons, you should consider contributing to your employer’s 401(k) in order to save for your retirement. For most individuals, Social Security income will need to be supplemented with your savings in order to achieve a comfortable retirement. If your company offers an employer match, make sure you take advantage of it. After you max out your employer’s plan, and you qualify to do so, contribute to your Roth or Traditional IRA. Pensions are things of the past; with the uncertainty surrounding Social Security, it is more important than ever that you maximize your retirement savings.
Setting aside a few hours this spring to review your financial goals can keep both you and your financial advisor on the right track! Let’s lace up those running shoes!
Advisory services offered through Sikich Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor. Securities offered through Triad Advisors, Member FINRA/SIPC.