By Keith Kleinman
Have a heart-to-heart with your finances.
Sound silly? After all, your financial information can’t talk to you. Or can it?
Every account statement you receive is telling you something about the state of your finances. Depending on how your investments perform, you’ll see an increase or a decrease in your investment account balances. If you’ve spent more of your savings than you intended, your savings account statement will show it.
Day to day, you may not be listening to every little thing your finances are saying. So, at least once a year, you and your financial information should sit down for a gabfest. Fall is the perfect time because summer’s over, the kids are back to school, and the holiday bustle hasn’t started yet.
If you’re ready to talk, these suggestions can break the ice.
START THE CHAT
Before you can assess your investing strategy and determine whether it’s moving you closer to your goals, you’ll want to review current information about your finances. Gather your most recent bank, investment and retirement account statements, pay stubs and a copy of last year’s income-tax return. Compiling a list of all your assets and liabilities — including loans, savings, investments, and other debts — will be helpful in your review.
TALK THE TALK
Before you begin, think seriously about your ability to handle investment risk. Your tolerance for risk is an important consideration when you’re reviewing your investment choices. If your investment time frame or goals have changed, your risk tolerance may have changed as well. Exposing your portfolio to too much risk may place your retirement savings in jeopardy, while holding too many “safe” investments may prevent you from reaching your goals.
Conservative, moderate, or aggressive: knowing the type of investor you are and the goals you’ve set for yourself can help you design an investment plan — or determine if the one you’ve previously created is on track. If you already have a plan but your investments aren’t performing in line with comparable benchmark indexes, you may want to consider alternatives.
CHANGES IN YOUR LIFE?
Changes in your personal circumstances — such as marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, job loss, the death of a spouse, or even retirement — may have an impact on your finances and your financial goals. You may need to make changes to your strategy to accommodate new goals, such as funding a child’s college education, or to make up for a loss of income. Life events may also alter your life insurance needs, so conduct a policy review if your personal circumstances have changed.
ON THE SAME PAGE — OR NOT?
If you’re married, you and your spouse may not have the same goals and expectations or agree on every financial issue. But talking about your differences can help you understand each other’s viewpoint and make it easier to compromise. If a compromise isn’t possible, consider keeping separate bank and investment accounts, in addition to a joint account, that reflect your individual risk tolerance and investing strategy.
THE HEALTH FACTOR
What does your health have to do with a financial review? A lot, actually. If you or your spouse were to become ill or disabled and unable to work, or if one of you would needed special care, where would the money come from to pay your expenses? Part of your financial review should include putting a plan in place to protect you from loss of income as a result of disability or illness. Beyond what your employer may provide, you may want to consider purchasing a long-term disability insurance policy and long-term care insurance or increasing any coverage you already have.
Having an annual heart-to-heart with your finances can keep you on track for reaching all your goals.
Keith Kleinman is a representative of Janney Montgomery Scott LLC, 270 Pierce St., Kingston. He can be contacted at 570-283-8140.
Janney Montgomery Scott LLC Financial Advisors are available to discuss the suitability and risks involved with various products and strategies presented. We will be happy to provide a prospectus, when available, and other information upon request. Please note that the information provided includes reference to concepts that have legal, accounting and tax implications. It is not to be construed as legal, accounting or tax advice, and is provided as general information to you to assist in understanding the issues discussed. Neither Janney Montgomery Scott LLC nor its Financial Advisors (in their capacity as Financial Advisors) give tax, legal, or accounting advice. We would urge you to consult with your own attorney and/or accountant regarding the application of the information contained in this letter to the facts and circumstances of your particular situation. Janney Montgomery Scott LLC, is a full-service investment firm that is a member of the NYSE, the FINRA and SIPC.
Source: DST Systems, Inc.