Starting the new year off right by planning well for the future

The new year is here and it’s a great time to start planning for growth.

As adults and parents, we are frequently busy juggling different roles and tend to push aside less immediate tasks such as planning for the future.  It is cliché to make New Year’s resolutions, but they can work if you approach them with the right mindset.  To that end, here are five New Year’s resolutions designed to help you with your planning and financial goals in 2018.  I hope this is helpful!

1. Set realistic, reachable goals

The first step to plan well is to have goals and this is where many people fail.  Either they don’t have specific goals in mind, or they set the bar so high that their goals are too difficult to attain, causing them to give up before they even really get started. Set different tiers of goals that you can check off as you go along.  I enjoy being able to have a physical to-do list that I can monitor and cross off; maybe this would work for you too.

2. Review your investment portfolio

The beginning of a new year is a good opportunity to review your investments (retirement accounts, brokerage accounts, college savings plans) so you can see what changes you need to make, if any.  Either by yourself or with the assistance of a professional, you can pinpoint what’s working well and what you can adjust.  This is something that I personally am working on.  As someone who grew up in Silicon Valley and saw the huge losses many took in the stock market, I tend to be more conservative and nervous about investing.  I know it is important to take some risks and reevaluate my strategy periodically based on my financial goals, which are categorized as short term, medium term, and long term.

3. Make a budget

Look back at your bank account and credit card statements from 2017 to see what your spending patterns are.  Throughout 2018, you can identify and correct problems areas before they become too overwhelming.  Knowing what expenses you need to pay for (e.g. food, rent/mortgage, gas, tuition) and then budgeting for a good mix of fun and saving allows you to analyze regularly so you can make sure you are on track for your goals.  

4. Make a plan to reduce your debts

If you have debt, that can be very stressful and high interest charges can keep you from reaching your ideal goals.  Create a manageable plan to reduce or eliminate debt in 2018.  

5. Plan for your family

We may know what our finances and family situation currently look like and expect them to remain predictable, but it is prudent to plan for the unexpected.  This could mean that an injury makes it hard for a parent to work, that long-term care is required, or God forbid, that a parent passes away.  Though these are contingencies no one wants to consider, they are worth discussing.  This may lead you to exploring life insurance, long term care options, and setting up an Estate Plan to protect your assets and your children.

If you have any questions or would like suggestions on professionals and resources regarding planning, please set up a consultation with us.  

Fremont Union City Newark (FUN) Mothers' Club is hosting a specialized speaker series called "Planning for Parents" in 2018.  Shannon was asked to give a seminar on "Estate Planning from a Parent's Perspective."  

Here are the details for the event.  We hope to see you there.  

Estate Planning from a Parent's Perspective