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How to Make 2024 the Best for Retirement Finances

February 28, 2024 • | Curran Estate & Elder Law, PLLC
Keeping those New Year's resolutions to save and invest more or spend less is tough. However, there are some steps you can take now to stay on track.

We all know what happens with New Year’s Resolutions—they’re mostly gone by February. A recent article from The Street, “9 Ways to Prioritize Your Financial Well-Being This Year,” explains how a proactive mindset can help you integrate positive management into your everyday life in 2024.

First, get organized! A cluttered environment can lead to a cluttered state of mind, increasing stress and reducing productivity. When was the last time you organized your finances? Preparing for taxes is a good time to take a day to go through old records, identify and gather what’s missing, update information, end unused subscriptions, set a budget, create your income tax folder and create a mindful bill-paying system.

Determine your financial goals for 2024 and beyond. If you’ve recently experienced a significant life event, like a divorce or marriage, or welcomed a new child or grandchild, now is the time to incorporate new goals, eliminate old goals and focus on the steps you need to achieve your new goals.

Have a values-based conversation with your spouse or partner. What is essential to both of you and how might you accomplish these goals? If you are single, make an appointment with your financial advisor to discuss your goals and what you can do to make them a reality.

Do you know what your net worth is? This is often used as a benchmark to understand your progress towards your goals. You should include investments, savings, equity in your home, and other assets. Then, assess your liabilities:  Mortgage, credit card debt, auto loans, personal loans, etc. Doing this every year will help you understand if you are making good progress or may serve as a wake-up call.

Do you have an estate plan, or is your estate plan more than three to five years old? This is the greatest gift you can give to your family. It includes how to settle your estate once you’re gone and how and who to manage your affairs while you’re living if you become incapacitated. An experienced estate planning attorney can create a plan aligned with your state’s law, so you don’t risk creating an invalid will, which will cause many challenges for  your loved ones.

Prepare digital assets. If you don’t have a list of all online accounts, including usernames, passwords, PINS and two-factor authentication information, start by taking inventory and documenting your information. Make sure your financial Agent and your executor have access to this information.

Prepare a financial “go” bag. The news is filled with natural disasters. You won’t get a printed invitation if you need to evacuate in an emergency. Have copies of important documents, including IDs, insurance cards, healthcare directives, birth certificates and marriage certificates, ready to take with you at a moment’s notice. Include information about your prescriptions and other medical information.

It is always good to form good habits, and tracking them keeps your activities and goals on the top of your mind. Use a spreadsheet, calendar, or journal to hold yourself accountable and give yourself a feeling of satisfaction every day.

Finally, a values-based decision-making approach can help you reach your goals. An example is whether you want to make an extra mortgage payment or invest the money in your child’s 529 account. By identifying core values before setting goals, you can use your values to help prioritize what matters to you; thus, aligning goals with values and actions.

Reference: The Street (Jan. 22, 2024) “9 Ways to Prioritize Your Financial Well-Being This Year”

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