We’re at the midpoint of the year: Are you halfway through your financial New Year’s resolutions?
Many of us think we are, but quick checks prove we have some work ahead of us to meet financial goals by next January.
Follow these eight easy steps for a thorough midyear financial checkup:
1. Review your goals
Your money should always be working toward something. If you set a financial goal at the beginning of the year, now is the time to check your progress.
For example, if your goal was adding $1,800 to your savings account this year, you should already be $900 toward your goal. If you’re not there, make a plan to catch up.
If you don’t have a goal yet, it is not too late to make one. Besides adding to savings, other goals might include:
- Adding to your emergency fund
- Paying down debt
- Making a down payment on a house
Once you have a goal, start tracking it. A pencil (with eraser) and paper may do, but online tools are available, too.
For example, PowerWallet is an advanced, easy-to-use tool for organizing and viewing all of your financial accounts in one secure place. There, you can set budgets, monitor spending and achieve your financial goals.
PowerWallet is available through the Money Talks News Solutions Center.
2. Check on your investments
Pull recent statements and check your investments. Do you have a good mix of stocks, bonds and cash savings? What’s up — or down?
The right mix depends on your age, investment goals and risk tolerance. Money Talks News financial expert Stacy Johnson offers this general guideline:
To decide how much to put in loaner investments (the bank) and how much to put in owner investments (stocks or real estate) here’s your rule of thumb: Subtract your age from 100 and that’s the percentage you might want to put in stocks. So if you’re 25 years old, you’d take 25 from 100 and put that amount, 75 percent, of your long-term savings into stocks. If you’re 75 years old, you’d only take that kind of risk with 25 percent of your savings.
If your investment portfolio can use an upgrade, there are plenty of ways to invest, even if you don’t have much money. Mutual funds are one great option. You no longer need $1,000 upfront to get in: Many funds let you invest with an initial $250 and payments as low as $50 a month.
Morningstar has a mutual fund selector to help you find the right fund for you. The Money Talks New Solutions Center can point you to the top online brokerages, many offering low trade fees or introductory free trades.
And don’t forget to check your savings account. Are you getting the best rates available from your bank? You can compare rates in the savings section of our Solutions Center. Also, consider whether a credit union might be right for you.