Guide to Your Annual Financial Wellness Check-up - Alaska Permanent Capital Management

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Guide to Your Annual Financial Wellness Check-up

2022 is in full swing. It’s time for an Annual Financial Wellness Visit. Like getting your blood pressure and labs done with your doctor each year, there are a few “check-up” items that you should review each year.

“Check-up” Checklist:

  • Review your spending and saving from last year. Where did you spend the most? Did your bank savings increase or decrease?
  • Review your retirement plan contributions:
    • Update contribution amounts. Many employer plans have the option to increase contributions by 1% each year. It is a great way to increase your savings over time. 401k Contribution limits for 2022 have increased to $20,500 ($27,000 for age 50+). IRA contribution limits remained the same at $6,000 ($7,000 for age 50+) but the income phase out for Roth IRA contributions increased.
    • If your employer’s plan provides the option, consider whether you should be making 401k contributions on a pre-tax or Roth basis based on your current and projected income.
    • Review your investment allocations. When the market moves, your allocation will move with it. Rebalance your portfolio to align with your overall investment strategy and maintain proper diversification for the current expected outlook. For more information, check out Brandy’s blog series on APCM’s 2022 Market Outlook.
  • Review your beneficiary designations. Ensure they align with your overall estate plan (see “The Big Stuff” below)
  • If you didn’t update your Health Savings Account (HSA) contributions during open enrollment, your employer may allow mid-year contribution changes. 2022 HSA contribution limits have increased to $3,650 for single ($7,300 per family).
  • Review your free annual credit report: Annual Credit Report
    • Review your credit limits and usage. If you are using more than 30% of your total available credit on a regular basis, it may be hurting your credit score. You may consider requesting a credit increase (be sure to talk to your card administrator first to see if requesting a credit increase causes a hard check on your credit).

 

Small Steps:

Just like increasing your number of steps per day helps you towards your overall health goals, thinking about your goals for overall financial wellness and breaking them down into shorter-term goals helps make lasting change with a big impact.

I like to include a short (2-3) list of financial goals in my budget spreadsheet so that when I am reviewing my expenses, I think about what I can do to meet my short-term goals. Depending on your stage in life, some examples of those goals might be:

–          Building my Emergency Fund

–          Save for a Travel Budget

–          Pay off High Interest Debt

–          Start College Savings for Kids/Grandkids

–          Open a Roth IRA

–          Build Cash Reserves Before Retirement

–          Increase 401k Contributions

 

Be sure to include a dollar amount (or percentage) and a goal date. Focus on developing goals that are specific, measurable, and realistic based on your budget. Start small; your goal today might be to contribute 5% to your 401k by increasing by 1% each year and then by the time you’re 5 years from retirement your goal could be to max out contributions.

The Big Stuff:

Here’s where the specialists come in. You don’t need a full work-up every year, but you do need to know your risks and develop a mitigation plan. When big events happen in life and you need to adjust, that’s when you lean on your team of experts. Consider tackling one of these areas as one of your Financial Wellness Goals this year:

  • Complete (or update) Your Estate Planning: ensure that your interests and family are secure.
  • Review Your Insurance Needs: does your current insurance level meet your needs?
  • Financial/Retirement Planning: are you on track to meet your long-term goals?

The “Big Stuff” can seem daunting, but when you have a great team on your side, it’s easy to make progress, and the best way to start is with one piece at a time.

Kelsey Rising
Associate Financial Advisor

 

1/31/22

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