This past year presented some financial challenges for many of us. For investors, the stock market retreated following a few years of strong growth, while inflation is impacting everyone.
These trends indicate it might be beneficial to consider making some adjustments to financial plans, to prepare for what 2023 has in store.
Here are five main areas to revisit and reevaluate as part of a New Year financial check-up.
Personal and business plans.
Ideally, you would have a business plan and a personal plan. Sit down to examine the goals for each and assess where you stand. Meet with your banker, who could offer specific insights and possible adjustments to your plans to keep you on track with your goals. Even if you must be more conservative in the short term, making those decisions now will set you up for future success.
As you examine your finances, determine if you have enough cash to support your lifestyle and upcoming expenditures, particularly in the face of the current market and inflation. For example, you might have to adjust the budget originally set for that dream wedding or for a college fund.
Look at the interest rates attached to each of your credit cards. Particularly if you are carrying balances on your cards, you should consider moving to a card with a lower interest rate. Because many people use credit cards for those unexpected financial expenditures, having a low-interest credit card would allow you to pay for any surprises without having to dip into your savings.
Now is a good time to reexamine and update your investments. Work with a financial professional to run a diagnostic on your portfolio and consider diversifying your investments, if you haven’t already done so. The key is to be sure your investments are not concentrated in a particular asset class or sector. A professional will give you specific ways to help minimize risk, particularly in this market that has potential for recession.
It’s surprising that even when people check to make sure their fire alarms are working, they still struggle to keep their life insurance or financial beneficiary information updated. As family members age or pass away, or people get married or divorced, your selection for beneficiaries may need to change. In addition, review the policy amounts to be sure they are a match for your stage and situation of life.
Delving into finances might seem like a chore, especially in the New Year, but it would serve you to stay on top of things. If you have key plans in mind, you need a clear picture of your financial situation as you head into the New Year.
To make the process more enjoyable, perhaps even fun, I encourage clients to incorporate these financial discussions into activities you know you’ll enjoy, like an outing or even a weekend trip. You never know, it might just become something you actually look forward to.
~ Lori Harrell has been a retail market manager for Valley Bank for more than 10 years. She works with both the Mill Square branch in Alexander City and the Dadeville branch.