It is that time of year again. The time where gyms have all time highs in memberships and stores keep their hours open later for procrastinators (such as myself). But it is also that time where people start to think about goals and objectives for the upcoming year. We are all too familiar with the “quit smoking” or “lose 20 pounds” type of goals, but I think it is also important to get all of your financial ducks in a row. Here are some common goals that might make your life a little easier:
- Consolidate your assets: Time and time again I see individuals with investment accounts scattered through all different types of custodians and investment companies. It will make your life so much easier to combine all of these into one big piece. Of course, make sure the source of your assets has a great platform that allows you to choose from a wide variety of investment vehicles while minimizing costs. Another advantage is if something happens to you, it will also make the process of settling your estate and wishes much more seamless.
- Revisit your investment allocations: It is time to dust off those old asset allocations and determine if you are in an appropriate position. This is a good time to reassess your risk tolerance and make adjustments accordingly. We have had pretty strong equity markets over the last four years and your portfolio could potentially be out of balance if you have bond allocations. The most important point I want to make here is to make sure that you are avoiding extreme asset allocations, especially if they do not fit your risk profile.
- Avoid the “noise”: This is more of a guide than a goal. I cannot even begin to tell you how often I tell clients to avoid what is going on within the financial markets. The reason behind this is to avoid those knee-jerk reactions to short term market fluctuations that may potentially adversely affect your portfolio. Leave the day trading to day traders and the stock forecasting to fortune tellers…I mean Wall Street.
I decided to provide you with a just a small sample size of ideas to focus on for next year. I would like for this to be a starting point in developing some other financial goals such as getting out of debt or saving for a vacation home. Take the time to sit down with your spouse and brainstorm some of the deficiencies in your current situation. This will allow you to start compiling a great guide for 2014.
Richard C. Ritzer Jr., CFP®
Carroll Consultants Advisors, Ltd.
1285 Drummers Lane, Suite 201
Wayne, PA 19087
(610) 225-1523 voice
(610) 971-0660 fax