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How to Set Financial Goals and Get Ahead of the Curve

Teresa Arrigo, RICP®

Every January people make resolutions to change themselves for the better.  What if you could make changes now to get ahead of the curve?  What if you could take some steps to set the tone for a more successful future now? 

Here are 6 things you should do before the end of the year to get ahead of the curve (and be sure to check out the Get Ready For The Future Show where we cover topics like this regularly)!

Step One: Ask Yourself How You Did This Year 

Did you set financial goals this year?  Great!  Now’s the time to take some time to reflect on how you did – to give yourself a report card.  Did you meet your goals?  Did you pay off the debts you hoped to?  Did you stay within your budget?  If so, congratulate yourself!  If not, take some time to reflect on what you could do differently going forward to get back on track.

Step Two:  Get on a Diet

Now, before you stop reading, don’t worry… I’m not talking about food here.  What I’m referring to is a debt dietDebt is unhealthy for you.  Much of the debt we see is from purchases that could have waited for the purchaser to save up the cash.  Getting out of debt takes time and focus, but can be accomplished with a clear plan and accountability.

Step Three: Review Your Life Insurance 

Do your existing policies still fit your needs?  And, we aren’t talking about just paying off debts.  If you have a family, the question you need to ask yourself is whether the policy you have would provide an ongoing income for your family if you weren’t to come home tonight.  I know it isn’t fun to think about, but many are underinsured.  On the other end of the spectrum are those who are overinsured or have policies that are not the best fit for them.  If you aren’t sure your policies are just right, our team is happy to help you review them.

Step Four: Increase Your Contributions to Your Employer Plan

If you aren’t contributing enough to get the company match, start there.  If you’ve got that down already, consider increasing your contribution by 1-2% each year going forward.  You won’t notice a big change in your check now if you add slowly over time, but if you do this consistently, these small increases will add up to a greater retirement account balance in the future. Don’t have an employer plan?  There are still strategies available to you through an advisor.  If you’re self-employed, you have options, too, that can not only help you save for retirement, but also save you on your taxes.  Listen to our full explanation on the podcast “Getting Ahead of the Curve” and visit your advisor to discuss your options.

Step Five: Take Your RMD if You are Eligible 

If you have reached age 70.5, you are required to withdraw a portion from your pre-tax assets each year. The amount you need to take will fluctuate from year to year, so it can be difficult to calculate yourself.  If you don’t take the distribution, the penalty is steep, so make sure you resolve that before the end of the year.

Step Six: Get Your Plan on Paper and Add Purpose to Your Goals

Goals without plans are just dreams. It’s time to stop dreaming and start planning. If you’d like help or want to know more about our trademarked process, you can click here to learn more.

Don’t wait for the beginning of the year to get started. Take steps now toward creating the future you want and get ahead of the curve. 

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

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