Financial planning: Five items to check in on now
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As we continue to grapple with the coronavirus and feel the pandemic’s impacts across all aspects of our lives, one place we can gain a little control over is our pocketbook and financial plan. While unemployment rates and economic uncertainty are still high across the country, understanding where your finances are headed for the rest of the year could offer some peace of mind. The tips below can help you get control of your finances today.
If you don’t have a financial plan in place, there is no time like the present to create one. A financial plan is a valuable tool you can turn to at any point in your financial journey. A financial plan empowers you to create a holistic approach to your finances and visualize where you are going in the future. The plan should be personalized to your goals and values. Financial plans can be particularly helpful as you manage a challenging situation – like today’s economic climate – and as you prosper and grow.
When the economy shut down in March, everyone had to shift some aspects of their normal routine such as eating out, grabbing coffee every day, going to the gym or even buying gas. Now that we are several months in to a world of social distancing, are there any expenses you can remove from your budget? If your commute went from 45 minutes to now just a walk down the steps, maybe the extra funds previously spent on commuting can be used to reach a savings goal. If you aren’t comfortable eating out yet, perhaps the money you would have spent at a restaurant can be reallocated to a different part of your budget. Take some time to examine how you’ve been spending your money and consider whether that leads to a few updates to your budget.
When Congress approved the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), a few measures were put in place to help Americans manage certain expenses. Some loans were suspended, interest-free, from March 13, 2020 through September 30, 2020. To determine whether your loans qualify, you will need to know what type of loan you have and who the lender is. In particular, there are special incentives if your loan is through the Department of Education.
Whether you are getting ready to retire or are several years away from that milestone, it is always important to do a check-up on your retirement savings accounts so you can retire comfortably when you are ready. Planning for your retirement should be an active and ongoing conversation. This should be a regular part of your financial plan and a piece you discuss with your financial advisor several times a year.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it is to be prepared for the unexpected. This year has thrown a variety of unpredicted twists and turns. One way to be prepared for the next financial hurdle in your life is to have a solid savings account. If you can, put away a little extra every month for a rainy day. Talk with your banker to see if you can turn on automatic deposits to your savings account every time you get a paycheck.
2020 has been a year full of unexpected developments, but in these unprecedented times, you can take small actionable steps with your financial plan to help control your current and future financial situation.
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