Happy New Year! As we welcome 2024, it's an opportune moment to reflect on our resolutions, particularly those relating to our financial well-being. Let's explore a countdown of key strategies to consider for enhancing your financial health this year, keeping in mind that these are suggestions, not financial advice. Always meet with a financial professional before making decisions. If you’re a client of ours, you can schedule time with the advisor on site. If you’re not a client yet, it’s never too late, Schedule a FIT Meeting with our team.
In spirit of the New Year, let’s do a countdown!
- Review Your Subscriptions: Take a close look at all your subscriptions, from streaming services to magazines. Often, we accumulate subscriptions that we rarely use, and they can silently drain our finances. Consider which ones you truly enjoy or benefit from, and cancel the rest. This small step can free up extra funds for more meaningful expenditures or savings. If you have this on auto-pay, you may not realize how much prices have increased with many subscriptions. If you can’t say goodbye to a certain streaming service, consider “pulsing” them, and changing them every month. Investing that time in a low cost hobby or self-enrichment is a great idea.
- Create a Budget: A detailed budget is the cornerstone of sound financial management. List all your income sources and track your expenses, categorizing them to understand where your money goes each month. This clarity can help you identify areas for cost-cutting and ensure your spending aligns with your financial goals. If you’re new to a budget and cash flow: this is essentially making sure you have enough coming in, to cover what is going out, and all the money that flows out is going into the appropriate places. What is appropriate differs, depending on unique circumstances everyone reading this has. However in almost all cases, it is best to spend less than you earn.
- Emergency Fund: Establishing an emergency fund is crucial. This fund should cover at least three to six months of living expenses and be readily accessible. It's a financial safety net for unexpected events like medical emergencies or job loss. Start small, if necessary, and gradually build this fund. How much should you have? This varies. Anyone can start with this process by determining their budget, and determining how much money you will need for weeks, or months, if you can’t work. You can also consider what your deductible and maximum out of pocket for healthcare is; those financial factors become important if you’re suddenly in a health-based emergency. We can’t plan for everything, and there’s endless things we can’t control in life. A little preparation goes a long way. Your financial advisor will guide you on this process! Schedule a FIT Meeting with our team to start the process if you don’t have a financial advisor.
- Retirement Planning: Have you been putting this off? If you’re a client of ours, no, you haven’t been! This is a topic that stresses most individuals. There’s no need. Our proprietary process will guide you to pursue your financial goals with clarity and involvement. Every plan is unique to each person. If the topic is daunting, consider building a vision board, including your spouse in the process if applicable. Print off images or cut them out of magazines focused on retirement. If you can dream it, we will help you plan it. Consider going local, think about what you haven’t explored in Grand Rapids or West Michigan and what you want to in your retirement.
- Plan Holiday Gifts in Advance Wait, what? We just left the holiday season! Yes, but it’s never too late to take the budget you just made, and make sure it includes the cost of gifts you want to give in 2024. Look at what you spent in 2023! Are you happy with that amount? Are you happy with where you got the gifts from? You can also start asking family early what might be a good idea for a gift. If you find something that fits the gift list throughout 2024, you can purchase it and save it for the holidays. If you want to overspend on the latest and greatest at the last minute, we don’t judge either! Just make sure you consider those costs in advance. Remember you have birthdays to consider also! Gift cards and cards make this very easy, but don’t let us ever suggest taking the joy out of the holidays.
- Maximize Your Social Security Benefits: Understanding and maximizing your Social Security benefits can significantly impact your retirement planning. This involves knowing the right age to start taking benefits, considering spousal benefits, and understanding how your earnings and other pensions may affect your Social Security income. While navigating Social Security can seem complex, taking the time to learn about your options or consulting with the professionals on our team may result in more favorable outcomes when pursuing your financial goals for retirement. This is a topic many people ask us about, if you have questions yourself, go ahead and Schedule a FIT Meeting with our team.
- Meet with a Financial Advisor: Yes, we have a bias, but only for helping clients. Continual engagement with your financial advisor ensures that your strategies stay aligned with your objectives and adapt to any life changes. If you're not yet a client, we invite you to Schedule a FIT Meeting on our website. A financial advisor can offer personalized guidance, helping you to navigate the complexities of financial planning and investment management with greater confidence.
If you have any tips you’d like to see in a future post, or have some topics you’d like us to explore, contact us today! Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, and Facebook if you haven’t already. Remember you can call, or text us at our main line: 616 971 0033.