By Kris McDowell
Was one of your New Year resolutions to achieve financial wellness? Is uncertainty about inflation and the economy causing you to think about evaluating your financial situation? Natalie Berning, Financial Advisor with OnPoint Investment Services/Raymond James Financial Sertice, Inc., says, “While the economic road ahead is unknown, the fundamentals of personal finance remain the same. Careful planning and budgeting can help you prepare for whatever is to come.”
Inflation will likely continue to be the biggest challenge for monthly budgets, so OnPoint has five recommendations to help people review and update their personal finances for 2023.
Conduct an annual financial inventory
Take stock of your financial status and ask essential questions. Can I continue to spend as I did last year or do I need to adjust my budgets? Do I need to look at my investments versus the cash I have on hand? Conducting a financial inventory can help you identify the gaps you need to close.
A financial inventory can include checking your credit card report for signs of fraud or any unnecessary credit cards that may still be open; looking at or setting up a budget and emergency savings fund; reviewing estate plans to ensure that beneficiaries are up to date and carried over to all accounts; reviewing investments for the asset allocation and progress being made toward retirement; and determining if life and/or long-term care insurance is sufficient.
Hit the reset button
Conducting a proactive budgeting exercise can help you prepare for future economic changes and create a roadmap to achieve updated goals. Reconsider every area of your spending, reprioritize based on your goals and the broader economic picture, and reallocate where needed.
Start by reviewing and adjusting your spending as it relates to your income; earmark where every dollar is being spent, saved or invested; and balance cash reserves to build in flexibility to leave cash on hand if needed.
Digitize and organize financial records
We all know what it’s like to feel overwhelmed with paper copies of all our critical financial documents. They become too easy to lose, misplace or, worse, get destroyed. Invest in a good scanner or mobile app, make digital copies of all your financial documents and save them in secure, organized and accessible computer files so they can be retrieved and viewed when needed. Be thoughtful naming the files so you can find them easily.
Have a family conversation
Discuss your decisions with those impacted. It’s important for everyone in the family to know and understand why certain changes may be occurring and what it means for them. For instance, if family vacations may need to be downsized, ensure everyone understands the trade off.
Go easy on yourself
While the current economy presents financial challenges, OnPoint encourages people to avoid putting undue stress on themselves. View this as a process that should be taken one step at a time rather than a to-do list that must all be done right away. Understanding your financial outlook and making proactive adjustments described above can help reduce financial anxiety and set you up for a more financially sustainable new year.
While the beginning of 2023 may present many financial unknowns, people can protect their finances by being prepared, flexible and organized. Visit onpointcu.com for financial education resources, financial counseling and more.