When you buy insurance or open a bank or investment account, you have to designate one or more beneficiaries.
For many people, that initial moment is the last time they ever look at their beneficiary designations. Has anything changed in your life since you opened that account or bought a policy? If it has been more than a year, the answer for many of us is YES!
The April 15th deadline has come and gone so, hopefully, you've either filed your taxes or requested an extension, but don't put away that 1040 just yet...
Your 1040 is full of valuable information that can help you move closer to your financial goals. Your 1040 can tell you how much you earned, how much you spent, how much you paid in taxes, and how much you saved for the future.
Let's start by making 3 columns, "Income", "Savings", and "Taxes".
The first column is easy; just take a look at line 22, your Total Income. Line 22 will tell you how much money you had to work with in 2013. Put that number in the "Income" column.
Then let's see how much you saved. If any of the income from line 22, wages, interest, dividends, rents, IRAs, pensions, Social Security, or any other income, was reinvested – put that amount in the "Savings" column. Take any Capital Gains from investment sales on Schedule D, and any money that was deducted from your paycheck for retirement accounts such as a 401k or a 403b and put that on the "Savings" column too.
If you want to feel better about your life, you need to get fit. That doesn't just mean being physically fit but having a healthy financial life. Being financially healthy has some of the same benefits as being physically fit. You can lower your stress level, sleep better, be energized and have more control over your future.
The new year began with some political drama, as last-minute negotiations attempted to avert sending the nation over the "fiscal cliff." Technically, we actually did go over the cliff, however briefly, as a host of tax provisions and automatic spending cuts took effect at the stroke of midnight on December 31, 2012. However, January 1, 2013, saw legislation--retroactively effective--pass the U.S. Senate, and then later the House of Representatives. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) permanently extends a number of major tax provisions and temporarily extends many others. Here are the basics.
Managing investment risk is the most important factor in developing your portfolio. Projected or expected returns are meaningless if not viewed through the lens of potential risks.
Managing investment risk involves several steps:
• Identifying your Risk Profile
• Identifying investment risks
• Matching your investment portfolio risks to your Risk Profile
• Monitoring and adjusting your portfolio to match changes in your Risk Profile, goals and time horizons.
"Financial planning is investing"
Although investing is one component of good financial planning, it is not all about investing. Financial planning includes spending & saving (budgeting), risks management, investing, insurance, estate planning and more. While you might not need to get involved with these topics at each point in your life, most people encounter them at some point. Early in life, managing your cash flow to create savings is critical. Without savings, there is nothing to invest. Likewise, managing risk to avoid catastrophic losses will help you retain what your investments have grown. Looking at all parts will help you develop a successful plan.
Before you file that copy of your tax form in the back of the drawer, spend a few minutes to see what it can tell you about your finances. You can quickly see how much you are spending, paying in taxes and saving for the future. This is valuable information to see if you are moving closer to your future financial goals. Here is how to do it...
Contribution, tax and other numbers to help you plan in 2014.
The MF Global incident is another reminder of what can go wrong with your investment holdings. How can you avoid losing control of your investments?
People who are concerned about outliving their assets...
What is your "Number" and how you will manage it?
How much do I need to be able to retire comfortably?
I'm retired - What is the best way to obtain the income I need from my assets?
A multi-Billion dollar Ponzi scheme based in New York - No surprise; there are lots of questionable financial whizzes on Wall Street.
$350 Million lost to an investment firm in Sarasota - Now that is news! How soon we forget that some advisors, even those close to home, may not be good for our financial health. Remember 2007 when Capital 1st Financial was found to be defrauding seniors? Or some recent real estate investments?