It’s that time of year again — time to let go of the old and say hello to the new. Hopefully for you, saying goodbye to 2020 may actually cause a sigh of relief. As if a global pandemic weren’t enough, this year has brought wildfires, murder hornets, a recession, soaring unemployment rates, social distancing from friends and family, and more Zoom calls than any of us care to admit.
So what now? How do we usher in a new year with a positive outlook? Perhaps we should take notes about what we might’ve done differently if we could’ve predicted life as we know it now. If we could sit back and plan ahead as if another 2020 were right around the corner, what would we do differently when it comes to our finances? If that’s a difficult question to answer, fear not — we’ve got some tips.
Check in with your portfolio. The stock market took a huge hit this year — plus a giant, historic recovery — so it’s not a bad idea to review your investments. Whether you’re a day trader, a long-term investor, or have a retirement plan, any and all investments should be checked out. Did you gain back your losses? Have you made a profit? Do you need to move a few things around for peace of mind, or get more aggressive as our country (and world) rebuild? Remember, investing is personality-based, and when it comes to long-term investing, it’s OK to see your balance go up and down.
Remember to rebalance. Rebalancing a portfolio is simply making sure your allocations are still as you’d like them to be. As the market fluctuates, so do your overall allocation margins. Maybe you’re all in on one mutual fund, or maybe you’ve spread your investments into a variety of mutual funds. Make sure your funds and allocations are how you want them.
Increase your retirement contribution. Experts would suggest 12% to 15% of your salary should be saved for retirement. In years like 2020, that’s not always a reality, but maybe you’re able to increase 1% at a time. An increase of 1% is only $12 a paycheck for someone making $30,000 a year (26 pay periods), and if we really considered what we do with $12 every two weeks, we likely could throw a little more into our retirement fund and not notice.
Reassess your budget — or start one. Saving for emergencies like accidents or unemployment is not the norm in our society. But as we’ve learned in the past year, knowing where your money is coming from and where it’s going can definitely help in difficult times. If you have a budget, can you save more by decreasing spending somewhere? If you don’t have a budget, do you need help? UBT offers free financial coaching through our Financial Literacy Program — contact Caitlin here.
Meet with your financial advisor or estate planner. If 2020 has proved anything, it’s that life is unpredictable, and no matter how much we plan, there’s always something else to consider. So, carve out some time to meet with your financial advisor, retirement plan sponsor, or estate planner to make sure every “i” is dotted and every “t” is crossed.
Finally, remember to breathe. No matter what your financial situation may look like as we close out 2020, there’s always time to make adjustments, and UBT is here to help. Here’s to a better year ahead.
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