2015 is coming to a close. As Christmas approaches and the media is saturated with end-of-year reviews discussing 2015’s movers and shakers in the worlds of celebrity, sport and music, it’s time to have a look at how your finances have performed this year.
Just as it is advisable to have an annual check-up with your doctor to make sure you are in rude health, it makes sense to check on the health of your finances to satisfy yourself you are progressing towards your financial goals.
Here is a handy end-of-year checklist to see if you are on track for all you wish to achieve financially both in the short and longer term.
1. Have you made any major life changes this year?
Big life changes mean that your financial planning might need some tweaking to take your new responsibilities into account. If you have got married or divorced, experienced the joy of a new baby in the family, changed job, received a promotion or moved country the chances are that you will need to adjust your financial plan accordingly. Not only will you need to look at how much you are saving and investing but you may also need to change the beneficiaries on any life insurance policies and go over your will to ensure it is up-to-date.
2. Revisit your financial goals
You do have some don’t you?!! If not, now is the time to make some. How can you secure your financial future if you don’t know what you are trying to achieve? A professional financial adviser can assist with this and everyone, not just the super-rich, should have one.
If you were sensible and made some goals at the beginning of the year, now is the time to check how you have done, to look at areas where you have not met expectations and make the necessary changes to guarantee success in 2016.
3. Have you reached your savings targets for the year?
The amount you save is largely what will determine your ability to achieve your financial goals. Have you managed to save as much as you hoped over the course of 2015? If not, you need to look at why that is. Could you be budgeting better? If you don’t already have an automated savings plan, now could be the time to set one up for those bigger goals such as paying university fees and funding your retirement.
4. How have your investments performed in 2015?
It has been a volatile year for investors. Question marks over Greece exiting the Eurozone rocked the markets in May followed by the crisis in China at the end of August when billions were wiped off the value of stocks overnight. How did your investments fare? Did they live up to benchmark? And are they still aligned with your goals? Now is a good time to take a look at your asset allocation and make some changes to rebalance your portfolio.
5. Have your insurance requirements changed in 2015?
It’s always worth giving all your insurance policies the once over on an annual basis. Start with life insurance – if your family situation has changed you may need to take out extra cover. Similarly check that your health cover is appropriate for your requirements and consider critical illness cover in case you should fall seriously ill in 2016. Take a look at your home and car policies and make sure they are still fit for purpose and you could even shop around for comparative quotes to see if there are savings to be made. These could be invested to give a welcome boost towards your longer term savings goals.
6. Are you happy with your financial adviser?
A good financial adviser will be invaluable in helping you define and meet your financial objectives. They should take the time to understand your financial situation, assessing your income and assets, and clarifying your goals before proposing a roadmap of how you achieve them. You need to find someone who you trust enough to share some pretty personal information with, a professional who is independent and has access to all the best products on the market.
If you don’t have one, or you are not happy with yours, I would love you to consider working with me and Infinity. Why not contact me for a no-obligation consultation? Just click this link.