Just as most people have an annual physical check-up with their doctor, it’s also a good idea to have an annual financial check-up with your financial advisor or another accounting or tax professional. And, there’s no better time to conduct your financial wellness check-up than at the beginning of a New Year. It is the time for resolutions and fresh starts, when people are generally more motivated to set goals and initiate plans in order to make their year ahead more productive and successful.
A good way to begin your annual financial check-up is to conduct a thorough review of the past year to measure how well you did in meeting your prior goals. Did you meet your spending and savings objectives? Were you able to retire any debt, especially high-interest credit card debt? Did you increase your contributions to your 401(k), or did you launch an IRA? Were you able to add to your fund for a home down payment? Did you successfully buy the car of your dreams or did you take an exotic vacation? Whatever your goals might have been from the previous year, it is important to know how you did, to see where you succeeded, and to see where there still might be room for improvement.
Many people are budget-averse. The idea of creating a monthly budget—and then sticking to it—is like fingernails scraping across a blackboard. It sends shivers down spines. But, there really are some terrific, user-friendly, personal finance software programs that make this dreaded task as easy as pie. With just a minimal amount of time invested, you can track all your spending, savings, and fixed expenses, and you can easily compare actual results versus planned goals, so if any adjustments are necessary, they can be easily corrected.
Having a financial plan in place with clear, specific goals in mind (and implementing a budget is a large part of that process) may be a recipe for success and a major contributing factor for achieving financial wellness.
Most of us are guilty of spending money frivolously in one way or another—whether it’s fueling our morning coffee addiction, frequently dining out, not using the gym membership we’re paying for, or maybe paying excessively for our cable programming. Wherever the fat might be in your monthly expenses, make a commitment to consider reducing, if you can. You would be amazed at how quickly those expenses add up and how much more productively that money could be spent on real financial goals that have longer-term benefits.
As part of getting a handle on your expenses, consider checking your credit. Checking your credit is free through the federal government. Additionally, some banks and credit card companies offer an annual report showing all of your expenses and what specifically you spent and where. Like lab reports that inform your doctor about the state of your physical health, a comprehensive expense report will also go a long way to contribute to your financial wellness.
Here’s to your good financial health and wellness in 2020!
United Capital Financial Advisers, LLC (“United Capital”), is an affiliate of Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC and subsidiaries of the Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., a worldwide, full-service investment banking, broker-dealer, asset management and financial services organization. Investing involves risk and clients should carefully consider their own investment objectives and never rely on any single chart, graph or marketing piece to make decisions. The information contained herein is intended for information only, is not a recommendation to buy or sell any securities, and should not be considered investment advice. United Capital does not provide legal, tax or accounting advice. Clients should obtain their own independent legal, tax or accounting advice based on their particular circumstances.
United Capital Financial Advisers, LLC d/b/a Goldman Sachs Personal Financial Management (“GS PFM”) is a registered investment adviser and an affiliate of Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC and subsidiary of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., a worldwide, full-service investment banking, broker-dealer, asset management, and financial services organization.
The information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only, is not a recommendation to buy or sell any securities, and should not be considered investment advice. GS PFM does not provide legal, tax, or accounting advice. Clients should obtain their own independent legal, tax, or accounting advice based on their particular circumstances. Please contact your financial adviser with questions about your specific needs and circumstances.
Information and opinions expressed by individuals other than GS PFM employees do not necessarily reflect the view of GS PFM. Information and opinions expressed in this article are as of the date of this material only and subject to change without notice.