By Diana Palmieri
As 2011 ends (and oh my, what a year it has been), it’s time for some resolutions for 2012. Try to take a few minutes during this busy time of the year to get your financial house in order.
Your Retirement and Savings Accounts
• Are you diversified enough? Review your investments, and consider rebalancing if necessary. The stock market in 2012, I believe, is still going to give us all the thrills and chills we’ve experienced this year, so hold tight and plan accordingly.
• Review your retirement savings: Are you on track? How are the current investments in your plan performing? Do you know how much you are contributing and can you possibly do more?
• Big purchases: Do you want to buy a house? A new car? Finally put that addition on your home? If you are looking to do any of the above, check out how much you can spend and stick to a budget.
• Have you set up an automatic savings plan? This is very important outside of your retirement plan–setting up an emergency fund. Start with $10 a week if you have to. Paying yourself first should be top priority.
Credit Card Debt
• What are the APRs on your credit cards?
• How many credit cards do you have? What can you cut up?
• Think about consolidating your debt. Mortgage rates are at an all-time low and will be for some time. Go to your bank and find out about refinancing.
Your Mortgage and Home
• Make sure you understand the terms of your home or home equity loan.
• Review the rate of your loan; as mentioned above, rates are at historic lows.
• If you are paying PMI (private mortgage insurance), check your home’s value. When you reach 20% equity in your home, you have the right to request cancellation. You will have to have your property appraised, but it sure would be nice to get rid of that premium.
• Check your homeowners’ policy to ensure everything is up to date. This is especially important if you’ve made improvements or even purchased new furniture.
• Make sure you understand your life insurance policy.
• Check to see if your policies are paid to date (meaning they are current).
• Check your beneficiaries.
• Is your current benefit enough to cover your family in the event something happens to you? Maybe you have too much insurance?
• Does your spouse have life insurance on the job?
• Your will: Do you have this important legal document?
• Health Care Proxies: This is another very important document. You remember what happened to Terri Schiavo in Florida.
• Who will care for your kids in the event something happens to you and your spouse? A minor’s trust will outline all this.
• Durable power of attorney: In the event you become incapacitated, who will handle your decisions?
No matter how you feel your year has gone, there are lots of things to be grateful for, such as your family and your health. There will always be room for improvement, but be thankful and enjoy the holidays. Reducing stress has the added benefit of possibly reducing your medical bills in the future!
Wishing you all Happy Holidays and a Happy, Healthy, Prosperous New Year!
Diversification of your overall investment portfolio does not assure a profit or protect against a loss in a declining markets.
Diana Palmieri is dually registered with Vanderbilt Securities LLC and H Beck Inc., which are unaffiliated. Securities offered through Vanderbilt Securities LLC, member SIPC/FINRA/MSRB.