Written by Minich MacGregor Wealth Management. Originally published in the Saratogian December 22, 2013.
Christmas and New Years are behind us and if you’re like most folks, your mind was filled to capacity with lists of errands to run and gifts to pick up, and, of course, the obligatory visions of sugar-plums.
But now that the holiday is past and the New Year rung in, I would encourage you to give a wee bit of headspace to your financial future. And, no, I don’t mean the pending Visa bill or even the state of the stock market the first week of January. That’s all short-term, temporary stuff. What I’m talking about is BIG picture, life stuff.
The beginning of the year is a great time to re-assess your priorities and make any necessary adjustments that reflect new goals as well as any recent or pending changes in your life — think approaching retirement, new houses and expenses, or even new jobs.
An assessment doesn’t have to be difficult or protracted but it does have to be honest. I suggest starting with a few questions related to the following areas:
Your planning process: If you are still working, are you consistently making good decisions on a monthly and quarterly basis to ensure you have enough to retire and maintain the lifestyle you want? If you are nearing or in retirement, have you developed a plan to convert the money you have accumulated into an income stream that you won’t outlive?
Your investment process: Have you developed a process to invest your money confidently in a manner that gives you peace of mind regardless of what happens in the market?
Your education process: Are you regularly learning something new about the world of investing?
Each of these questions is important as they touch on a different aspect of your financial life. The first examines whether or not you are on track to meet your goals; the second evaluates whether or not your investment process can withstand different market conditions; and the last is about becoming a better investor. The capital markets are constantly evolving, thus there is always something to learn that will help you make better investment decisions.
The days and weeks ahead will be filled with celebration and probably a few resolutions. If you intend to include “find financial security” on your list, remember this: the best way to ensure a prosperous New Year and beyond is to plan for it.