I thought you may be interested to know how a 25-year financial planning expert goes about planning for financial success in the New Year.
I’d like to think I live a balanced lifestyle, enjoying life today while saving for an uncertain tomorrow.
My peace of mind starts with a detailed analysis of where I am financially, and confirming that I am on track to attain my financial needs and wants.
I begin by taking a look at my net worth and comparing it to where it was one year ago. I start by looking at the bottom line and then work my way into the details. Every asset or investment I own is attached to funding a goal or goals.
Future Goal Planning
• I look at my retirement plan assets, how much I contributed and what the new rules are for the coming year. In 2015, the limits were raised to $18,000 with a $6,000 over age 50 catch-up. I use the Roth 401k for my contributions meaning I do not take a current tax deduction in exchange for the money being tax-free when I take it out. I run my software “What if” scenarios to make sure I am on track to be financially independent at my goal age. There are several variables I play “what if” with including rates of return (pre & post retirement), inflation, taxes, and the year I hope to be financially independent.
• With three teenagers (ages 16,15 & 13), I look at my 529 college savings plan balances and run my calculator to see if I am where I want to be with their savings plans compared to what it may cost.
• I review my Health Savings Account to make sure it is growing like I want it to. I want it to be worth $100,000 at age 65, so I can get some new body parts if the wear and tear of playing basketball require some replacement parts.
• I also have specific accounts set up for gifts to my children if/when they get married. We are not paying for their weddings, but will give them some cash to spend any way they like when the time comes.
• In all of these cases, I look at which accounts need more fuel (monthly savings) to successfully attain the goal.
• Lastly, I look at my total debt as compared to last year and like to see that number shrink every year.
Everybody makes tradeoffs with their spending. For me, I don’t care that much for dining out, but always save to do what I like most which includes golfing and go on lavish family vacations. As I woke up to 2015, I realized that I am getting much closer to some of my biggest ticket financial goals, especially college. It feels great to know that I have saved enough for all three of my kids as that has been weighing on my mind for a long time. It has really kept me from spending more freely. Now that I feel comfortable with having that goal funded, I feel like I have the permission to “live a little”.
I plan on opening the wallet more freely in 2015, going to more concerts and other events, and taking care of many household improvements that I have been putting off.
It’s hard to put a price tag on “FINANCIAL PEACE OF MIND”, but I know I sleep better at night and am more financially worry-free as I spend this valuable time each year..
I hope that my clients feel much better than they did before we met, knowing that they have a “plan” to meet their goals.
Let me know if you want a complimentary second opinion on where you stand in relation to your financial goals.
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