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8 Actionable Items for Your 2019 Finances

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Can you believe its 2019 already? We are now 19 years removed fromY2K! Seems like yesterday I joked with my friends about “life” in the new millennium (lol).

Well folks, the future is now! We have electric cars that drive themselves, can video chat with someone anywhere in the world, and with a few clicks on my phone, I can have almost any product delivered to my doorstep.

As we start on this brand New Year, I wanted to ask you: are there things you should be getting done in 2019 that you’ve been putting off for years? I often see people procrastinate and for various different reasons (some good, some bad, all understandable).  But with New Year’s resolutions starting up, I wanted to give you a list of certain items that it may be time to fix.

No time like the present.

Hit List of Procrastinated Items:

1. Increase those monthly savings. I liken this to the “tomorrow diet,” as there is always something getting in the way. Stop making excuses! You CAN increase those monthly saving outflows a few percentage points; you likely won’t even miss it. Of course, there will always be another expense looming, but the impact of this on your financial health can only be beneficial for decades to come.

2. Get those estate plans done. The lack of proper wills, trusts, and power of attorney is one of the biggest deficiencies I see in people’s financial lives. I’ve seen lawyers themselves who don’t even have this stuff done. I know it’s painful and feels like something you can handle later, but you never ever know what tomorrow brings. Get it done now! This is something we can help you complete, too (in case you were wondering). You might find that it takes a little effort up front, but the feeling when it’s done is well worth it.

3. Review those life and disability insurances. Unfortunately, I know friends and clients who’ve gotten sick, injured, or passed in 2018. Don’t delay this review. (And, if you don’t have any insurance, perhaps it’s time to get some.) You’ll never be younger than you are today. Ask yourself this question: if cost wasn’t an issue, how much insurance would you have? Then, look at what you actually have (if any) and ask yourself why such a discrepancy. Also, review who are the beneficiaries listed. All too often, I’ve seen them be someone you don’t want or realize.

4. Review your car and homeowners insurance. These costs can creep up through the years without us recognizing it. We also accumulate items which may not be covered. Take the few minutes to talk to your agent. Find out if they can lower your costs and/or if you’re exposed in some way. This is insanely easy, but most of us get too busy to make the call. It could save you thousands of dollars. Who couldn’t use that!

5. Review your cash accounts. Do you have too much or too little cash? If so, fix it. If your savings account is at a normal brick-and-mortar bank, you are likely getting abysmal interest rates. Take the time to setup an online, high-yield savings account. Live Oak Bankis a good example. By making the change, you could benefit from over 2% interest on these savings. Interest rates are increasing, so make this move now and cash-in.

6. Go on that vacation. Honestly, what are you waiting for? As I stated earlier, you are never going to be younger than you are today and who knows when you might fall ill. So go out and book that trip you’ve been wanting to do. My bucket list trip is Spain. It will happen this year or next, I promise you that!

7. Take a regular vacation… from your phone. “Andrew, it will be alright if you don’t check your phone every five minutes when at home.” I tell myself this constantly, and I’m still bad at it. But, I know that life, and the people in it, have something special to offer. For me, it’s my beautiful wife and amazing three children. How can I appreciate those moments if I am focused on my phone? Make one of your New Year’s resolutions to find time every day to vacation from that phone, even if only for a few hours.

8. Fine tune that financial plan. I assume you are working with a financial planner (if not, call us). No time like the present to review that plan. With economy and market volatility, the best weapon in our arsenal is a well thought out plan, which can handle most scenarios with ease. Without one in place, every issue can lead to a disaster. Don’t fall victim to this. Make sure your plan is actionable, definable, and done collaboratively.

Related: Understanding Your Budget Is the First Step to Financial Freedom

I know these eight things seem like a lot, but what I’ve laid out shouldn’t be difficult to accommodate. Rate them by importance, or greatest deficiency, and knock them off your list one at a time (or work with someone to do so).  At the end of the day, you should find yourself improving your and your family’s life for 2019. Here is to a great start to a New Year and hope everyone enjoys a happy and healthy year to come.

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