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.
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?
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.
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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.
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?
» Learn more: Estate Planning: Not Just for the Wealthy
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.
» Learn more: A Basic Estate Planning Checklist
About the writer
Natasha Cornelius, CLU
Senior Editor and Life Insurance Expert
Natasha Cornelius, CLU, is a writer, editor, and life insurance researcher for Quotacy.com where her goal is to make life insurance more transparent and easier to understand. She has been in the life insurance industry since 2010 and has been writing about life insurance since 2014. Natasha earned her Chartered Life Underwriter designation in 2022. She is also co-host of Quotacy’s YouTube series. Connect with her on LinkedIn.