There seems to be a rhythm around our financial focus; we start out the year strong, full of enthusiasm and excitement about the positive energy we’re going to exert on our finances in the coming year. Everything is going great until the summer doldrums hit and then that momentum comes to a screeching halt.
Hey – I get it! The kids are out of school, the summer sun is shining, and vacations are top-of-mind.
But eventually September rolls around and we realize that we only have three or four months left to accomplish our goals. We hit the throttle again, work on accomplishing those financial objectives…and then we crash into the holidays.
Let’s do things a little differently this year
How about maintaining the great progress you’ve made in 2018? Here are three things you can do this summer that don’t require too much work…but will make a huge difference to your overall year.
Schedule a savings increase to start in July. Pick one of these four places or make a change to all of them!
- Increase your deferral rate to your work-sponsored retirement plan or increase the monthly amount you’re saving to a traditional or Roth IRA.
- Increase your 529 college plan contribution or the contribution to a different college account.
- Emergency savings. If you’ve been ignoring the advice to increase your emergency savings to six months’ worth of fixed expenses, now is the time to get going. Start a monthly transfer from your checking to your savings so it happens each month without any action on your part.
- Holiday spending. The holidays will be here before you know it. Get ahead this year by saving now, especially if you have a tendency to go all out! Just the thought of a financially stress-free holiday should get you motivated.
Use this month for a mid-year check-up on your spending plan. You now have six full months of spending data to review. It also happens to be the halfway point in your spending year. How did you do? Did your average monthly spending meet your goals or are you way over budget? If you’ve spent too much, course correct now so you’ll be back on track by the end of the year.
Make a list (or dig out your New Year’s resolutions) of the financial to-do items you want to accomplish before the end of the year. The last few months of the year always fly by, so it’s a good idea to plan ahead and not wait until the last month of the year, when you’re completely booked with the holidays. Send your list to your financial advisor so he or she is in the loop. Lean on that person for the accountability you need to see your goals through!
Have a great summer!
Andrea Blackwelder is a Certified Financial Planner ™ Practitioner and the co-founder of Wisdom Wealth Strategies, a fee-based financial planning and investment advisory practice. Andrea looks at your complex financial planning puzzle and assists you with the best options and financial strategies that align with your financial needs. To contact Andrea, email firstname.lastname@example.org.