New Year, New Financial You: 6 Resolutions for 2017

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New Year, New Financial You: 6 Resolutions For 2017

By: Bill Van Sant, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Univest Investments, Inc. and Girard Partners, a Univest Wealth Management Firm

According to data released by Forbes, 45 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, but only 8 percent are successful in seeing those goals through. Also notable is that the survey ranked “spending less and saving more” as third out of the top 10 commonly made resolutions. Financial resolutions are important to create every year and January marks the perfect time to review year-end investment statements and take a comprehensive look at your total financial picture.

Here are a few tips to help individuals and couples not only get their finances on track, but also stick to their resolutions aimed at long-term financial success.

Pre-set appointments with your financial advisor. Determine if the frequency that you visit your advisor works with your financial plan and, from there, establish pre-set meetings (quarterly, bi-annually, etc.). Think about it; before you even leave a dentist appointment, you plan your next six-month check-up. Since this is locked into your calendar, it is less likely to be rescheduled. Have this mindset with your financial advisor. Setting these dates on your calendar at the start of the year will help inspire a commitment to meet the appointment and, in turn, allow you to verify you are on track to meet designated objectives.

Avoid broad, grandiose goals. A big mistake we often see people make is setting resolutions or goals that are too lofty or difficult to manage. Creating objectives that are unattainable will discourage you which can create a domino effect of inaction, which is the worst outcome. Opt instead to tackle actionable and smaller goals. For “larger” goals, give yourself a multi-year timeframe to accomplish the task.

Raise your retirement savings rates. You can never save too much, so naturally a recurring goal should be contributing more to a retirement plan. Don’t shock your budget, but give yourself a retirement raise every year. Ideally, aim to increase your deferral rate by at least 2 percent annually. Gradually move the needle higher, and focus on maxing out based on contribution limits, not percentages.

Consider interest rates. For those with adjustable rate mortgages or loans, this is the time to consider locking in a new fixed rate. We have been enjoying ultra-low rates for a long-period of time, and while the Federal Reserve recently raised rates 0.25 percent, 2017 is still a smart time to review options before rates move even higher.

Review insurance policies.Every few years, review insurance policies and/or shop them around to get bundled or better deals. You could be missing out on big savings and, if you haven’t updated certain policies in a long time, it’s likely your coverage needs have changed and require revisions.

Fashion up legal documents (and/or review them)!Make sure you have the appropriate legal documents in place – most importantly a Power of Attorney and will. There is a false pre-conceived notion that you need to be wealthy to have these documents and that they are expensive to draft. Another roadblock to putting these in place is that many people don’t want to deal with their own mortality. If you haven’t created, reviewed, or updated these documents, especially if life circumstances have changed, your inaction could create a potential estate planning nightmare.

Sticking to these six resolutions could help improve your financial life in 2017. Need additional advice or guidance on financial planning? Please contact us at 215-721-2112 to get a conversation started.

 

Securities and insurance products are offered through Univest Investments, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC and a licensed insurance agency. Investment advisory services are offered through Girard Partners, a Univest Wealth Management Firm. These affiliated companies are licensed subsidiaries of Univest Corporation of Pennsylvania. Products and services offered are not FDIC insured, are not a deposit of or bank guaranteed, and are subject to risks, including possible loss of any principal amount invested.