Now that April is in our rearview mirror, many of our New Year’s resolutions may have bitten the dust. But it’s never a bad time to evaluate your financial plans to make sure you’re staying on the right course.
Most of us are saving for the future, but are those savings and investments working cohesively to achieve our overall strategy?
To ensure your overall financial plans are working in synergy, here are 6 tactics to consider.
Consolidate your retirement accounts**
When it comes to investments, a rule of thumb often shared is “don’t put all your eggs in one basket”, but you can still put all your retirement accounts in one basket and diversify those investments. Consolidating your retirement accounts with a fully diversified plan helps to streamline your financial plan and help you stay on top of them more efficiently. Once you retire, setting up monthly payments on multiple accounts can add hassle, and having one account can allow you to carefully select your investments and put them into time segments. It can also allow you to select a safer choice of investments for money you’ll need to withdraw in the next few years, and more aggressive choices for money you won’t need to touch for a while.
Consolidating your retirement accounts can also reduce the amount of paperwork and notifications you’ll receive from each financial firm. If you’re subject to a required minimum distribution by the age of 70, having consolidated accounts can save you time and mitigates the possibility of mistakes that may result in penalties. Another potential benefit is reduced investment fees. IRA accounts have annual fees and investment accounts may have transaction fees when you buy or sell an investment. So, the more accounts you have, the higher your chances of paying more fees. To consolidate your retirement accounts, you can make an IRA rollover or IRA direct transfer, which is a non-taxable event. This is done by transferring money from multiple accounts into one established IRA account, or a newly opened account.
If you want to increase your potential earnings opportunities, regularly investing is just as important as making an initial investment. Setting up an automated investment process will help you stay on track. You can invest into your retirement account as well as explore additional investments, and depending on the options available in your current plan, you may be able to invest with greater discretion outside of your 401K.
One of the easiest ways to do this is by taking advantage of the retirement savings options offered through your employer. Some companies will provide you with the option to automate your investments through payroll deductions. This gives you the advantage of having these funds out of sight, and out of mind. And you can set up monthly automatic investments to come directly from your SkyOne account.
Protect your loved ones with life insurance
Ask yourself this question: “How much would I need right now to protect the people I care about and support them in my absence?” If a loved one passes away unexpectedly, it could create a heavy unplanned financial burden for the surviving family members. Exorbitant funeral costs, medical expenses, basic living expenses, healthcare, future educational costs, and just plain debt can damage the foundation of a family’s wealth and opportunities. With life insurance, you may be able to reduce your family’s financial risk by transferring the risk from the beneficiaries of the policy to the insurance company. There may also be potential savings and tax advantages of using life insurance.
Set and evaluate your retirement goals
Your financial plan should be reviewed regularly to ensure it’s adapted to changes in your life, and you’re still on track for retirement. For instance, your ideal age of retirement and the lifestyle you want may have changed since you last reviewed your account. Your annual expenses in retirement, such as mortgage expenses may decrease, while healthcare expenses may increase. Therefore, schedule regular reviews with your financial advisor who will help ensure your financial plan keeps up with your needs.
You may want to take a new Tolerance of Risk Assessment to see if it has changed.
If you’re in your 20’s or 30’s, you may be more aggressive with your investments. In contrast, when you’re closer to retirement, you may want to be more conservative and consider annuities, CDs and bonds.
Here are basic considerations you should revisit annually:
- When will you begin to withdraw from your retirement account and at what rate?
- How much will you need to withdraw and collect?
- Has your financial circumstance or your goals for retirement changed since your last assessment?
These answers will vary from person to person based on many factors, like your age and the type of account you have. Making the most of your retirement is possible by planning a strategy, re-evaluating your goals periodically, and making informed decisions.
Set up a 529 College Savings Plan for your child or grandchild***
The cost of a college education is at an all-time high and could cost an arm and a leg with tuition prices increasing every year. As a parent or grandparent, a 529 college savings plan could significantly reduce your financial burden. As the investor, you put after-tax dollars into the plan. Growth of those invested dollars is tax deferred, and if you pull the money out to use on qualified educational expenses, all the gains are tax free. And as an owner, you can change the beneficiary at your discretion. In the event that one child doesn’t use all of the funds in the plan, you’ll be able to put the account in the name of a sibling or another family member. There’s no penalty for your child being a genius – if your child earns a full ride or partial scholarship, the amount of the scholarship can be withdrawn without penalty, minus paying the taxes on it.
Complimentary consultation with a Financial Advisor
As a SkyOne member, you’re entitled to a complimentary consultation. Our CFS* Financial Advisors are here to guide and support you in your financial planning. Contact us for a complimentary consultation today.
Call us at 800.421.7111to schedule your complimentary consultation.
Sources: Geoffrey Palenik, CFS* Financial Advisor; BALANCE.org; NFDA.org; MoneyCrashers.com; and CNBC.com
*Non-deposit investment products and services are offered through CUSO Financial Services, L.P. (“CFS”), a registered broker-dealer (Member FINRA/SIPC) and SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Products offered through CFS: are not NCUA/NCUSIF or otherwise federally insured, are not guarantees or obligations of the credit union, and may involve investment risk including possible loss of principal. Investment Representatives are registered through CFS. SkyOne Federal Credit Union has contracted with CFS to make non-deposit investment products and services available to credit union members.
Federal Seminars and ChFEBCSM, Inc. owns the symbol marks ChFEBCSM and ChFEBCSM logo in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete Federal Seminars and ChFEBCSM, Inc. initial and ongoing certification requirements.
Geoff is insurance licensed in California (#0E05168.)
**Before deciding whether to retain assets in an employer sponsored plan or roll over to an IRA, an investor should consider various factors, including but not limited to: investment options, fees and expenses, services, withdrawal penalties, protection from creditors and legal judgments, required minimum distributions and possession of employer stock.
***There are fees associated with 529 savings plans. Investments in 529s involve investment risks. You should consider your financial needs, goals, and risk tolerance prior to investing. More information about 529 plans can be found in the issuer’s official statement or plan disclosure document which should be read carefully prior to investing. Most 529 plans are sponsored and administered by states. State tax benefits vary among the states and some offer residents additional tax benefits if they invest in their own state plan. Consult a qualified tax professional for more information.