By Gary Brown
Are you one of the many who believes that once you get your finances and investments in order, everything will fall smoothly into place and your wealth will grow on its own? The only time you are tempted to do a financial check-up is when you need some extra cash or market fluctuations make you curious about your portfolio performance. The truth is, regularly reviewing your finances is essential to ensuring your investments are moving in a positive direction. Below are the seven financial decisions you should review on a regular basis:
1) Refinancing a Mortgage
Interest rates are still low, so you may want to consider refinancing your mortgage if you haven’t done so in the past few years. Chances are you could reduce both the term and the interest rate of your loan.
2) Reducing, Changing, and Eliminating Credit Cards
If you are not paying off your credit card bills on time, a low-cost card could reduce your interest charges. Having multiple credit cards can also foster a carefree spending attitude that can lead to an unhealthy debt build-up, so you may want to reconsider how much revolving credit you really need.
3) Checking Your Credit Report for Accuracy
When getting a loan or accessing your credit, errors on your credit report can increase the interest rate lenders charge or result in credit denial in extreme cases. Make sure you review your credit report in detail to reduce this risk. All credit holders are entitled to a free copy of their credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies, so be sure to take advantage of that opportunity.
4) Contributing to Your 401(k)
Be sure to look into all the ways you can contribute to your 401(k), especially since many employers will contribute to your plan and allow for automatic payroll deductions. What’s more, automatic pre-tax deductions lower your taxable income. Earnings on your contributions also grow tax-deferred until you withdraw them in retirement.
5) Rebalancing Your Investment Portfolio
As the markets ebb and flow, your investment portfolio and asset allocation will change. Rebalancing, with the help of your professional financial relationship manager, will bring your portfolio back to your original investment goals and risk tolerance.
6) Checking Your Mutual Funds
Although you should invest for the long term, it is prudent to periodically check the performance of your funds. It may be time to make a change if your fund has been stagnant for five or more years. Your relationship manager can help you dust off the cobwebs and ensure your investments are moving in the right direction.
7) Consolidating Your Investment Money Managers/Investment Firms Near Retirement
Having investments with multiple brokerage firms using different clearing companies can result in a voluminous amount of paper and information that can be burdensome. As you begin to transition into retirement, consult with your relationship manager on ways to consolidate the process and simplify the process moving forward.
Is it time to give your finances a face lift? Request your complimentary portfolio review from AAFMAA Wealth Management & Trust here today.
Gary Brown is a Relationship Manager with AAFMAA Wealth Management & Trust, currently serving the Saint Petersburg, Florida area. He helps clients create comprehensive financial plans by building a dedicated, trusting relationship and seeking to understand client needs and goals. Prior to joining AAFMAA Wealth Management, he gained experience as a financial advisor serving the personal and small business markets. Additionally, Gary has over 30 years corporate management experience in the financial services industry including Life and Annuity, Property Casualty, Securities Brokerage and Banking. He earned his Master in Business Management degree from Central Michigan University.