The last few weeks of the year can be joyful, but also hectic and disorganized. From a financial point of view, there are a few steps you can take now that can help you start 2020 off on sound footing and pay great dividendsA cash payment to investors who own stock in the company. over the next 12 months:
- Top off your rainy-day stash of cash. It’s been a bountiful ride for the markets in 2019, and many investors are fortunate to find themselves in a stronger financial position at the end of this year than last. So now may be the perfect time to hedge against future uncertainty in the markets. One of the best ways to prepare for future dips is to make sure you have enough cash to cover living expenses—that way, you can avoid drawing on investments in a falling market. We usually recommend holding at least a year’s worth of expenses in savings, preferably in a money market fund, which provides instant liquidityThe ease with which an asset can be bought or sold. Assets for which there are many buyers and sellers at any given time are highly liquid (for example, a stock which trades on a public exchange). Assets which trade rarely are illiquid (for example, a Picasso painting or a high-end home)..
- Reread your estate plan. Our general advice is to closely go over and revise as necessary your will, trusts, powers-of-attorney, health care proxies and living will with your estate attorney every five to seven years. But doing a year-end check-in yourself doesn’t hurt—give your plans a once-over to make sure they’re still fully in line with your wishes and circumstances. (For example, if you’ve begun to see a new doctor, make sure he or she is included in health care-related documents.)
Make sure to check in on your financial plan and be sure that your savings, investment and other goals are still on track.
- Compile year-end financial documents. Amongst the flurry of holiday cards and credit card bills, you’re likely to receive a number of important financial documents this time of year. Tax season will be here before you know it, and by compiling your account statements, tax documents, charitable gift receipts and other financial papers in one place now, you can make your life considerably easier when it comes time to file your taxes. Our Adviser Insights portal provides a handy and secure document Vault to make it easier to keep track of all your most crucial documents electronically—and save a few trees. If you’re not already using Adviser Insights, talk to your relationship team about getting set up.
- Check your insurance coverage. Now is also a good time to make sure any big changes you’ve made this year haven’t led to you taking on risksThe probability that an investment will decline in value in the short term, along with the magnitude of that decline. Stocks are often considered riskier than bonds because they have a higher probability of losing money, and they tend to lose more than bonds when they do decline. that aren’t covered by insurance. For example, if you’ve completed home renovations this year, your newly spiffy digs may have increased your home’s value, meaning your current home insurance policy might not cover as much as it should. Take a look at your disability, life, long-term care, home and auto, and umbrella policies to confirm that you’ve left no flank exposed.
- Go over your accounts’ named beneficiaries. It’s a good practice to periodically examine who you have listed as your beneficiaries on your retirement savings plans and other accounts to be sure that they are accurate and reflect your wishes. We can lend a hand for any accounts we manage for you.
- Review your financial plan. Finally, make sure to check in on your financial plan and confirm that your savings, investment and other goals are still on track. Don’t have a financial plan? Reach out to our team here at Adviser Investments—we’d be happy to help you organize, review and plot your strategy for 2020. It’s one of the best gifts you can give yourself and your loved ones.
Disclaimer: This material is distributed for informational purposes only. The investment ideas and opinions contained herein should not be viewed as recommendations or personal investment advice or considered an offer to buy or sell specific securities. Our statements and opinions are subject to change at any time, without notice and should be considered only as part of a diversified portfolio. Mutual funds and exchange-traded funds mentioned herein are not necessarily held in client portfolios. Data and statistics contained in this report are obtained from what we believe to be reliable sources; however, their accuracy, completeness or reliability cannot be guaranteed.
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