I don’t know about you but I love New Years. There’s that feeling of rejuvenation that make you feel like you are ready to take on the world. What can possibly stop you from achieve the desired success that is in store for you in the coming new year.
As great as that feeling is, there is one thing that will surely stop you in your track – setting unmeasurable goals. Year after year, we list our resolutions without a clear understanding of what it is going to take to accomplish these goals.
Commonly made financial resolutions include improve finances, spend less money, save money and get out of debt. Are these the same ones we should make again?
Tragically, only 46 percent actually do succeed in keeping their resolutions at 6 months, and only 19 percent at one year. Perhaps we are going about this all wrong. Here are my tips for better New Year’s resolutions:
Gather all your personal and financial information together: Sit down with your spouse/significant other and address the following questions. Is it all in order? Do you have copies of all your important documents and passwords and do you each know how to access them? What if something happens to both of you? Who else has that knowledge? Can they be located?
Create/update your household budget: Have there been any life changing events that will affect your cash-flow? Increase or decrease in income or expenses?
Review all your insurance coverage: Is all your insurance up to date and in the right dollar amounts? Are all your beneficiaries (primary and secondary) up to date? When was your last policy review? Review life insurance, disability insurance, long-term care insurance, property and casualty insurance and umbrella coverage.
Take a look at all your retirement/investments accounts (IRA, 401K, brokerage account, etc): Do you have copies of your most recent statements? Are your assets titled properly (individual name, joint, in trust)? Again, are all your beneficiaries up to date? It’s important to take a look at your accounts on a regular basis.
Review your estate planning documents: If you died today what would flow into which trust, who would receive what, what would be the tax consequences?
Prepare an income and asset analysis: If you became disabled or died today how would your family be provided for? Is it sufficient? If your spouse/partner died or became disabled today how would you be provided for? Is it sufficient? If both of you died or became disabled today how would those you are supporting be provided for? Is it sufficient?
Update contact list: Make an updated list of all your advisers, including their updated contact information.
Schedule your annual review with your financial advisor: Just as visiting your doctor for your annual check up is necessary, meeting with your financial advisor on an annual basis to review the above details is essential to your long-term financial success.
Two important thing to keep in mind: First, if you set goals that are measurable and/or set a target time to complete the resolution, you will be more likely to keep your resolutions. Second, if you share your resolutions with others (family, friends) and show them a list of your resolutions, they will support you and help you keep the promises you make.