Your annual physical is an important appointment, a preventive care visit focused on detecting conditions that could compromise your health before they take hold. Likewise, an annual financial health check-up is an important process, one that can help you identify and prevent problems in your financial life.
A financial health check-up takes a holistic review of your personal finances and financial situation so you have a better understanding of how you are managing your money and whether you are on track to achieve your financial goals. Here are some things to address in an annual financial health check-up:
- Check your emergency fund. Do you have enough cash set aside for six months of projected expenses?
- Check on any debt repayment or credit card spending. Is that debt decreasing or increasing?
- Review insurance policies. Do any coverages need to be adjusted?
- Review investment accounts, How are they performing? Are you comfortable with your investment strategy? Are you optimizing for taxes in retirement?
- Check your tax liability on your year-end return. Are there any adjustments you can make that will decrease the amount you owe?
- Check your beneficiaries on your account. Has anything changed? Are the beneficiary designations in line with your wishes?
- Review your legal documents. Do you have a will? A living will? Have you assigned power of attorney? Are those documents current?
- Check your annual budget. Do you have a monthly spending plan or expense spreadsheet, so you know where your money is going? Are there any adjustments you can make to lower your monthly expenses?
- Do you have a financial plan? Have you updated your plan within the last five years?
- Do you have enough money saved for your retirement?
- If you are saving for your children’s or grandchildren’s college education, how are you saving and are you saving enough?
- Do you have an estate plan designed to minimize the impact of taxes on your estate? And has this estate plan been reviewed in the last five years?
- Have you planned for increased medical bills or long-term care needs later in life?
- Do you have multiple investment accounts spread over several companies? Are these accounts being managed properly? Should you consolidate those accounts? (Your tax professional will thank you.)
- Do you have a personal financial information binder or spreadsheet that family members could access in the case of your disability or death?
Last question: Do you conduct your own health physical, or see a healthcare professional? Likewise with a financial health check-up, it makes sense to work with an experienced financial professional. They can help you answer the above questions and many more, and work with you to make appropriate adjustments to ensure your financial well-being.
Consider a recent Vanguard study1 that revealed a hypothetical self-managed $500,000 investment grows to an average $1.7 million over 25 years, while growing to an average $3.4 million under the care of a financial professional1. Successful investors typically work with investment professionals. You should too.
1 – Putting a value on your value: Quantifying Advisor’s Alpha. August 12, 2022. Accessed February 24, 2023. https://advisors.vanguard.com/insights/article/IWE_ResPuttingAValueOnValue
The information included in this document is for general, informational purposes only. It does not contain any investment advice and does not address any individual facts and circumstances. As such, it cannot be relied on as providing any investment advice. If you would like investment advice regarding your specific facts and circumstances, please contact a qualified financial advisor.
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