We’re in a new year and it’s time to think back on the previous one to determine if any changes need to be made.  Many people have New Year’s Resolutions that consist of losing weight or quitting smoking, and while personal health goals are worthy endeavors, it’s also important to think back on your finances to see if you need to make any changes in this aspect of life as well.  Review the following to see if you need to make any personal finance changes.

Saving Strategies

The most common saving needs include the need to save for financial emergencies, college education, and retirement.  Experts recommend starting out by saving $100 per month or 10 percent of each paycheck to put toward an emergency fund.

For your children’s college fund, a recommended goal is to think of paying for college in thirds.  One third comes from past income (your savings), another third comes from current income at the time tuition needs to be paid (along with grants and scholarships), and the last third will come from future income in the form of loans that will need to be paid back by either you or your children.

As for a retirement fund, Vanguard, an investment management company, says to focus on taking full advantage of any employer match if they offer it and work your way up to saving 12-15% of your pay.

When reviewing your savings, consider the following:

  • How much of an emergency fund do you need?
  • How much do you need to save for educational costs and how much have you saved?
  • If you are not retired, when do you plan to retire?
  • How much will you need to save for retirement?
  • If you or your spouse are covered by a pension plan, how much retirement income do you expect and when will these benefits begin?
  • How much do you expect to receive from Social Security?
  • Would you benefit from a retirement planning review?

Insurance Planning

You will also need to consider a variety of insurance needs during your lifetime.  Property/casualty insurance usually includes personal property, homeowners coverage, car insurance, and some others.  Personal insurance needs include medical and dental, long-term care, and disability plans.  Life insurance needs often change throughout your lifetime and should be reviewed periodically.

When reviewing your insurance, consider the following:

  • Do you need to review your property/casualty insurance coverage?
  • Do you need to review your health, dental, disability or long-term care needs?
  • Have there been any big events in your life lately? Such as a wedding, new baby, or divorce? You may benefit in a review of your current life insurance needs.

Life insurance needs often change throughout your lifetime and should be reviewed periodically.

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Estate Planning

Estate planning encompasses many things the main being identifying, prioritizing, and achieving your family and charitable giving goals.  Since needs, wants, and tax laws can change over time, your existing estate plan should be reviewed periodically.

When reviewing your existing estate plan, consider the following:

  • When was the last time your wills and trusts were reviewed?
  • Does your attorney need to review/prepare any other legal documents such as a power of attorney or a living will?
  • Do you need to review ownership and beneficiary arrangements for life insurance, annuities, pension plans and Individual Retirement Accounts?
  • If you own a closely-held business, when was the last time your succession plan was reviewed?
  • Have you estimated estate liquidity needs for final expenses, legal and probate costs, any federal or state inheritance taxes, loan repayment and family income needs?
  • If your estate may be subject to federal estate taxation, are you utilizing any gifting strategies?
  • Would your family benefit from an irrevocable life insurance trust?

Do your finances need some adjustment?

After reviewing your finances, if you are in need of changes make a plan to accomplish these new goals.  Work with a financial advisor if you have one.  They can go over your goals with you and recommend strategies that can help you achieve your financial objectives.

If you are in need of life insurance, or think your current life insurance policies need updating, contact us here at Quotacy.  We’re here to help assist you with any life insurance needs you may have.  Start by running free, anonymous term life insurance quotes today – no contact information required.

Begin the New Year by putting your best financial foot forward.

 

Photo credit to: Markus Spiske

 

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Buy Bulk

If you plan on handing out candy to the little ghouls and princesses, go to a store that typically sells food in bulk.  Buying pre-packaged packs at the supermarket or pharmacy can be very expensive.  Your local Costco, BJ’s, or Sam’s Club will offer candy at a much lower cost.  You may even have a bulk food store like WinCo near you that may have even better candy deals.

Avoid Candy

One easy way to make sure you don’t over-indulge in candy is to not buy it.  Your excuse that you are buying for trick-or-treaters may be a valid one, but it might not stop you from eating a few pieces between visitors.  And what about the leftover candy?  Who gets to eat that?

Instead, consider buying something other than candy to hand out on Halloween night.  The local dollar store has lots of inexpensive toys and knick-knacks you can hand out instead.  For example, glow sticks.  What kid (or young-at-heart adult) doesn’t love glow sticks?  Typically, you can buy a packet of glow sticks (usually 5 in a bag) for $1.  You can even crack them open and hand them out already glowing.  Not only will kids get a kick out of them, but their parents can keep better track of them in the dark, and you won’t add an unnecessary extra 700 calories to your day – win win win!

Thrift Store Shop

Other than candy, costumes are the next Halloween staples Americans spend a lot of money on.  With websites like Pinterest, who’s to say you can’t DIY your kid’s (and your) costume this year?  Used clothing and secondhand shops are full of items just waiting to be re-purposed into a Halloween costume.  Another benefit to this, other than saving money, is your costume will be unique.  While your daughter may want to dress up as Disney’s Moana like every other little girl in the neighborhood, her Moana costume will be one-of-a-kind.

Take a look at For Sale websites too such as eBay, Craigslist, Letgo, and local Facebook garage sale groups.  Many people are selling past years’ costumes for a fraction of what they would have cost brand new.  Keep in mind that these costumes have most likely only been worn once so they are probably still in good shape.

Plan Ahead for Next Year

While you can’t buy candy a year in advance, the post-Halloween decoration sales are definite money savers!  If you are someone who likes to cover the entire yard in scary decor, buying items right before Halloween can be expensive.  Save 50-70% and buy lots of fun Halloween items after the holiday is over and store them for next year.  A massive glow-in-the-dark spider will still be in style next year!

Quotacy loves Halloween just as much as everyone else and while Halloween brings us a lot of unhealthy snacks, we can still make healthy and mindful decisions.  Remember, making healthy choices leads to a healthier you, which can ultimately keep your life insurance rates lower.  If you don’t yet have life insurance, get a term life insurance quote today.  Not having life insurance is a scary thing!

 

Photo credit to: Conner Baker

 

About the writer

Headshot of Natasha Cornelius, a life insurance writer, for Quotacy, Inc.

Natasha Cornelius

Marketing Content and Social Media Manager

Natasha is a content manager and editor for Quotacy. She has worked in the life insurance industry since 2010, and making life insurance easier to understand with her writing since 2014. When not at work, you can find her throwing a tennis ball for her pit bull mix, Emmett, or curled up on her couch watching Netflix. If it’s football season, the Packers game will be on. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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