As we approach the end of January, New Year’s resolutions tend to transition from steadfast commitments to invest in ourselves, to goals that we’d like to accomplish this year, to “next year I will…” Studies suggest that as many as 80% of people who set new year’s resolutions have given up on them by the second week in February. If financial health is on your list for 2020, we’d like to see you defy those odds!
Whether you’re tackling issues with fitness, food, or finances, serious changes are a product of improving habits and stacking small victories that add up to significant accomplishments. Here are three small things you can do to keep you on track for improving your financial situation in 2020:
CREATE OR UPDATE YOUR NET WORTH STATEMENT
A net worth statement lists out all of your assets and their corresponding values, as well as your outstanding debts and their corresponding balances. Your net worth statement is the most accurate measure of your wealth and serves as a snapshot of your current financial situation. While we’d all like for this number to be positive, this may not always be the case. Your net worth statement should be used to help you determine what part, or parts, of your financial situation to focus on in the next 12 months.
A newly minted M.D. may want to come up with a plan to knock out his/her debt as quickly as possible. At the same time, others may be approaching retirement and wondering how the SECURE Act impacts them as they transition from accumulating assets to distributing those assets in retirement.
Periodically updating your net worth statement will allow you to see the result of your earnings and spending over time, serving as either evidence of your progress or a nudge helping you refocus on your financial goals.
ANALYZE YOUR INSURANCE NEEDS
As your financial situation changes, so too might your insurance needs. Whether it be life insurance, disability insurance, or property and casualty insurance, it’s crucial to consider how significant changes in your financial situation can impact your needs as they relate to these and other types of insurance. Insurance tends to be an area where people take a set-it-and-forget-it approach. This complacency can lead to costly mistakes that can be avoided with a relatively small investment of time each year.
Working with insurance brokers, as opposed to captive insurance agents, can often ensure a better outcome in the long run. These firms can take your policy needs to the best carriers on the market to find the best policy at the best price. Working with a firm that views insurance as an ongoing advisory relationship can help to ensure that the policies are serviced appropriately and that the policies in place continue to meet your needs as they shift over time.
REVIEW YOUR CREDIT REPORT
While most people understand that good credit history is an essential part of their financial health, a 2016 survey by the Consumer Federation of America and VantageScore reports that 32 percent of Americans have never obtained a copy of their free credit reports. This lapse is all the more surprising given than credit reports are easily accessible and free to obtain. Federal law allows everyone to get a free copy of their credit report every 12 months from each credit reporting agency to ensure that the information that is in these reports is correct and up to date.
Reviewing your credit report at least annually, even if you have excellent credit, will allow you to catch any potential inaccuracies and address them promptly with the credit reporting agencies. Additionally, reviewing your reports annually will alert you to any inconsistencies or suspicious activity from year to year that could be a sign of identity theft.
These are just a few small habits that you can adopt that will help you stick to your 2020 financial resolutions! We call these Small Good Choices™, and you can learn more about these and other strategies by heading to Sequoia Learns, or as always, by reaching out to your Advisor.
For more information on this topic contact Michael Baker.