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Health Care
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Personal Finance
Your Financial Life
By Transamerica / Nov 30, 2016

7 Tips for a More Financially Productive New Year

financially productive new year

Here are seven simple things you can do to get 2017 off to a solid financial start.

1. Use an online calculator to help you set the right financial goals.

“The end of the year is a fantastic time to take an assessment of where you stand in terms of your overall financial and retirement savings, and retirement income goals,” said Catherine Collinson, president of the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies®, a division of the Transamerica Institute®, a nonprofit, private foundation. To help, transamerica.com offers a retirement calculator.

2. Sanity check your investments.

Starting a family? Getting older? Make sure your investments reflect your current lifestyle and goals. “It’s really good to do a sanity check to ensure that your savings portfolio is still well-balanced and in line with your risk tolerance and years to retirement,” Collinson said.

3. Investment windfalls or dogs? Consider this…

Consider seeking the help of professional experts if you’ve had either a windfall or significant investment losses during the year. “If someone has had a windfall over the course of the year—and on the other end of the spectrum, if they’ve had some dogs they need to dump—it’s good to talk to your accountant and/or your financial advisor. These professionals can best assess the timing of certain transactions, which could possibly create some tax efficiency,” Collinson said.

4. Really understand your health insurance.

The end of the year is usually the time to select health benefits for the following year, so it’s important to make sure you understand everything you’re getting.

“It’s been very dynamic the last few years with the Affordable Care Act, and many employers have made changes to their plans,” Collinson pointed out. Ask questions to make sure that you know as much as you can about your coverage, including maximizing tax savings through any Health Savings Account (HSA) or Flexible Spending Account (FSA) your employer may offer.

5. Make sure you have enough insurance protection.

Did you have a baby? Get married? Buy a house? Certain life events may make it advantageous to add more insurance coverage. “Assess your levels of insurance or protection through your employer, by working with an advisor, or directly with an insurance company,” Collinson said.

6. Wills and beneficiaries—just get it done.

If you have benefits or a retirement savings account at work, make sure your beneficiaries are current. “It’s an age old story about the ill-fated 401(k) account in which the beneficiary turned out to be the ex-wife, instead of the current wife,” Collinson pointed out.

Also update your will, power of attorney, and advanced directives. “A lot of people really don’t enjoy doing these things, so why not address it all at once?” Collinson said. “Get it done with.”

7. Update your resume.

Earning the most you can during your working years affects your savings and retirement. Updating your resume and LinkedIn® profile can position you to quickly respond to new job opportunities or employment changes.

“Before you go back to work in January, just take a couple hours and update your resume, so that it’s fresh and sparkling with your recent accomplishments over the last year,” Collinson said.

Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies® is a division of Transamerica Institute®, a nonprofit private foundation that is funded by contributions from Transamerica Life Insurance Company and its affiliates and may receive funds from unaffiliated third parties. For more information, please visit www.transamericacenter.org.

Nothing presented herein should be construed as a recommendation to purchase or sell a particular investment or follow any investment technique or strategy.

Neither Transamerica nor its agents or representatives may provide tax or legal advice. Anyone to whom this material is promoted, marketed, or recommended should consult with and rely on their own independent tax and legal advisors regarding their particular situation and the concepts presented herein.