Tax season is over and one of the biggest American celebrations—the Fourth of July—is just around the corner. Maybe you’re looking forward to a little downtime this summer, so perhaps working on your financial plan has slipped to the bottom of your to-do list. It’s understandable, but putting your finances on cruise control at mid-year is not an ideal strategy. Here are four reasons why you should put a mid-year financial review at the top of your priority list…
1. Looking at your finances mid-year means you still have time to meet your goals
Mid-year is an ideal time to do a financial review because a) you’re not under the gun trying to get your taxes done and b) there are some important planning opportunities that you can benefit from now that won’t be available if you wait until the end of the year. For example:
- Are there any life-changing events occurring soon such as marriage, the birth of a child, retirement, or a career change?
- Will your income or expenses substantially increase or decrease this year?
- Are you on track with your savings goals?
- Are you comfortable with the amount of debt that you have?
- How is your investment portfolio doing?
These are all areas to review at mid-year to ensure you can reach your goals and not end up with costly surprises once it is too late to take corrective action.
2. You may be able to reduce your taxes now—and pay less next April
Sure, you may have digitally filed your tax return away for the year, but taxes are not meant to be a once-a-year task. Having an ongoing tax plan is the best way to reduce your tax burden—and relieve the pain of tax season.
Your tax professional can help you do a mid-year estimate of your tax liability, which may reveal tax planning opportunities. Using last year’s tax return as a basis, you can make adjustments to your income and deductions that will pay off next tax season. In addition, you can check to make sure that you are withholding the correct amount of tax on your income—especially if you owed a lot of money or received a big refund this past April.
3. You’ll really be ready for retirement
Do you look at your investment account statements when you receive them, or do you put them in a drawer unopened? Are you in a set-it-and-forget-it investment mindset? If either of these scenarios sound familiar to you, then make this summer the time to take a good look at how your investments are doing and make any necessary adjustments to your investment strategy.
If you are an active investor and you received a pay increase this year, consider increasing your retirement plan contributions by asking your employer to set aside a higher percentage of your salary. In 2015, you can usually contribute up to $18,000 to your workplace retirement plan ($24,000 if you’re age 50 or older).
Already retired? Then a mid-year review is equally important for you to ensure you have the income you need and that your current investments and distribution strategy are ideal for your situation.
4. Enjoy the summer with financial peace of mind
One of the most important things that a mid-year financial review can do for you is provide peace of mind. By taking a little bit of proactive action now and working with our team to make sure you are on track with your financial goals, you’ll be able to really relax and enjoy all the summer season has to offer—knowing that you’ll be in great shape when year-end and next tax season come around again.