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Year-End Financial Check List

During the year-end lull, amid those brief but blissfully quiet times the holiday season often provides, between the parties and the holiday visits, it’s a great time to sit down and review your finances. I’ve provided a partial check list below to help with your review. I hope you have ended up in a solid financial position this year and, that the coming year holds even greater promise for an abundance of health, happiness, and prosperity.

Review or update your beneficiary designations and withholding

Make any needed updates to the beneficiary portion of your bank accounts, retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and annuities. If you have you gotten married or had a child, or if a spouse or other loved one has moved on through divorce or death, within the last 12 months, you will also need to look at your tax withholding and make sure to account for this change.

Keep your life insurance records in at least two places in case of fire or flood

Make sure you include information with each copy including dates, policy numbers, the amount of the death benefit, the name of the agent who sold you the policy, etc. A good place to store your records inside the home is with your financial records or legal papers. You can keep the second copy either in a safe deposit box, with a trusted relative, or with your attorney or other trusted professional. Also, make sure your beneficiaries know where to look for them after you’re gone.

Make sure your financial institutions and employers have your correct address

And then start gathering the documents you’ll need to file your taxes (prior returns, receipts, bank, and credit card statements) and create a spot for them and W-2, 1099, 1099-G (for unemployment) or 1098-E (for student loans) documents.

Review your insurance needs

Health insurance, life insurance, homeowners’ insurance, and auto insurance —

it’s important to reevaluate all insurance policies regularly — to make sure you’re properly insured and are not paying too much for them. For instance, homeowners’ insurance rates can fluctuate due to both, crime, and bad weather near your home, which can negatively impact rates. Also, if you have accumulated more possessions since you purchased your policy you may need to reevaluate to be sure the policy covers everything of value.

Review your portfolio with your financial advisor

Make sure your financial strategy still fits you. Did you recently inherit some money? Or perhaps your job is less secure than it was last year. As your life changes, your investments and financial portfolio might need a few alterations. Remember your portfolio should reflect investment objectives that are appropriate for your current life stage. Your age, risk tolerance, tax status and time horizon, among other factors, are all important.

Check your emergency savings account

In an ideal world, you’d have three to six months’ worth of emergency savings set aside.

56 percent of Americans don’t have the cash to cover an unexpected $1,000 bill.

Remember that an emergency, such as a car repair or a medical expense, could set you back financially. To help ensure that doesn’t happen, build up your savings by automatically depositing some money from your paycheck to a dedicated savings account.

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