& Keeping Financial New Year’s Resolutions
What could you
do (or do differently) in the months ahead?
Provided by MidAmerica Financial Resources
How will your money habits change in
2017? What decisions or behaviors
might help your personal finances, your retirement prospects, or your net
Each year presents a “clean slate,” so as one year ebbs into another,
it is natural to think about what you might do (or do differently) in the 12
Financially speaking, what New Year’s resolutions might you want to
make for 2017 – and what can you do to stick by such resolutions as 2017
Strive to maximize your 2017 retirement
plan contributions. Contribution
limits are set at $18,000 for 401(k)s, 403(b)s, most 457 plans, and the federal
government’s Thrift Savings Plan; if you will be 50 or older in 2017, you can
make an additional catch-up contribution of up to $6,000 to those accounts. The
2017 limit on IRA contributions is $5,500, and $6,500 if you will be 50 or
older at some point in the year. (If your household income is in the six-figure
range, you may not be able to make a full 2017 contribution to a Roth IRA.)1
Under 40? Set up automatic contributions
to retirement & investment accounts.
There are two excellent reasons for doing this.
One, time is on your side – in fact, time may be the greatest ally you
have when it comes to succeeding as a retirement saver and an investor. An
early start means more years of compounding for your invested assets. It also
gives you more time to recover from a market downturn – a 60-year-old may not
have such a luxury, but a 35-year-old certainly does.
Two, scheduling regular account contributions makes saving for
retirement a given in your life – month after month, year after year. You can
contribute without having to think about it, and without having to wait months
or years to amass a lump sum. Those two factors can become barriers for people
who fail to automate their retirement saving and investing.
Can you review & reduce your debt? Look at your debts, one by one. You may be able to
renegotiate the terms of loans and interest rates with lenders and credit card
firms. See if you can cut down the number of debts you have – either attack the
one with the highest interest rate first or the smallest balance first, then
repeat with the remaining debts.
Rebalance your portfolio. If you have rebalanced recently, great. Many investors
go years without rebalancing, which can be problematic if you own too much in a
See if you can solidify some retirement
variables. Accumulating assets for
retirement is great; doing so with a planned retirement age and an estimated
retirement budget is even better. The older you get, the less hazy those
variables start to become. See if you can define the “when” of retirement this
year – that may make the “how” and “how much” clearer as well.
The same applies to college planning. If your child has now reached his or her teens, see if
you can get a ballpark figure on the cost of attending local and out-of-state
colleges. Even better, inquire about their financial aid packages and any
relevant scholarships and grants. If you have college savings built up, you can
work with those numbers and determine how those savings need to grow in the
next few years.
How do you keep New Year’s resolutions
from faltering? Often, New Year’s resolutions fail because there is only an
end in mind – a clear goal, but no concrete steps toward realizing it.
Mapping out the incremental steps can make the goal seem more
achievable. So, can visualizing the goal – something as simple as a written or
calendared daily or weekly reminder may reinforce your commitment to it. Two
New York University psychology professors, Gabriele Oettingen and Peter
Gollwitzer, have developed what they call the “WOOP” strategy for achievement.
Its four steps: pinpoint a challenging objective that can be met; think about
the best result that could come from trying to reach the goal; identify any
obstacles in your way; and distinguish the “if-then” positive steps you could
take that would help you realize it.2
Financial new year’s resolutions tend to boil down to a common goal –
the goal of paying yourself first. That means saving and investing money for
your future rather than paying your creditors or buying expensive consumer
items bound to depreciate. Think ahead – five, ten, or even twenty or thirty
years ahead – and make this the year to plan to accomplish money goals, both
big and small.
Financial Resources may be reached at 618.548.4777 or email@example.com. www.mid-america.us
This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily
represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This
information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note
- investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future
results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other
professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage
the services of a competent professional. This information should not be
construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the
purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor
recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or
service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and
are not illustrative of any particular investment.
and advisory services offered through National Planning Corporation (NPC),
Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser.
MidAmerica Financial Resources and Malan Financial Group are separate and
unrelated companies to NPC.