GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — There is still plenty of summer left, but the halfway point in a year is a good time to review your financial situation.
You still have six months to make adjustments if you aren’t on track.
We sat down with financial professional Justin Halverson from Great Waters Financial to get his take on what all of us should be doing right now.
Q: WHY IS JULY A GOOD TIME TO REVIEW OUR FINANCES?
It’s a great time because we have the first part of the year to review and see if we are on track to meet our financial goals. Then we have the second half of the year to make adjustments.
If you wait until the last few weeks of the year to make changes, you won’t see as big of an impact on your finances.
There are four money moves you can make now to set your finances up for success in the second half of the year.
Q: WHERE SHOULD WE START?
Update your spending plan
This is a perfect time to stop and see if you are still working within your budget or spending plan.
Checking your plan in the middle of the year will show you where you are spending your money and where you could potentially cut back.
One of the biggest fears those in or near retirement have is running out of money.
Plan for Uncle Sam
We just experienced the full impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
If you found yourself owing money this year and haven’t made any adjustments, now is a good time to see where you can be more strategic.
The first thing to look at is how much you are withholding from your paycheck. The IRS updated the withholding tables with the new tax law. However, about 80 percent of people haven’t adjusted their withholdings.
The updated tables only impacted about nine months’ worth of income last year. This year, they will impact all 12 months of income.
If you haven’t made any changes, you’ll want to make them soon to help your 2019 taxes. You can file all withholding adjustments with a W-4 form through your employer.
Review your estate plan
Nearly half of older Americans do not have a will or estate plan in place.
Make sure you have a will created and an executor named. You will also want to name your financial power of attorney. Should you become incapacitated, this person will handle all your financial affairs.
If any major life events have occurred in the last year like a marriage, death or birth, you will want to update your beneficiaries.
If you don’t designate a beneficiary, your beneficiary could be chosen by a federal or state court.
Great Waters Financial has a full estate planning checklist on their website.
Check your investments
Check in with your portfolio and make adjustments. Depending on how well your investments have performed so far this year, you could be overweighted.
For a quick self-assessment on your risk, try the rule of 100. Take your age and subtract it from 100; that should be the percent of your portfolio in stocks. For example, if you are 30, 70 percent of your portfolio can be in stocks, and if you’re 70, only 30 percent of your portfolio should be in stocks.
It’s important that you are taking the appropriate amount of risk for your age and how close you are to retirement.
Talk with a financial professional before making any major investment changes.