The people's voice of reason


Well, it’s that time of year again. Time to start thinking about your resolutions for the New Year and making your plans and goals for the New Year. I’m sure most of you, like myself, will have the usual resolutions of exercising more and eating better but what we need to add to that are resolutions concerning our finances. First, you’ll want to work out your budget for the year and then determine where there are holes in your financial design. Let’s start with your insurance needs. Make sure you have your health, dental and vision insurance in place. Next, take a look at your auto and homeowners insurance. Then you will want to review your life insurance and long term care insurance. Your insurance needs are the foundation of your financial needs. Once you have reviewed all of your insurance and filled any gaps that you may have found, then it is always a good idea to review your retirement savings. You may feel like you are fine with continuing to save for your retirement in the upcoming year at the same rate as you did this year. But, depending on what your upcoming budget looks like, you may need to make some changes. For instance, what if you got a raise in salary or you changed jobs and you are making more now. It may be prudent to increase your contribution rate. If you happened to lose your job or your salary is still the same but you picked up more debt this year, then you may need to reallocate to help accommodate your living expenses or to pay down debt. You may also want to look at what kind of traveling you may plan on for the year or any vacations you plan on taking and how you want to pay for them. It doesn’t have to be an overwhelming process to plan for the upcoming year. Basically you want to make sure you have a plan which can lessen the opportunity for surprise budget shortfalls or that can put you in a better position to be able to handle any unexpected expenses that may come your way.

Another good reason to prepare your upcoming budget now is because of the spending you may be doing this holiday season. There is usually a lot of money spent during the holiday season including gift shopping, decoration purchases, travel expenses, donations and cooking and baking expenses on top of the normal living expenses. If you haven’t budgeted for these additional holiday expenses and you have to rely on credit cards, then you need to budget to pay these expenses off in the coming year. You can also take this opportunity to budget for the expenses for the next year so that you won’t feel compelled to use credit cards in the next holiday season.

This is also a good time to assess any potential large expenses for the upcoming year. For example, the house you are living in may have some age to it and the heating and cooling systems or water heaters may be nearing the end of their lives and could be potential large untimely purchases in the new year. It may be time to have your house painted or other necessary repairs made or the roof replaced. Also, look at your vehicles. If they have a lot of miles on them, it may be time to look into replacing them or at least budgeting for possible upcoming repairs like new tires or brakes.

No matter what your current situation is or what your upcoming year looks like, things can always change and you want to be as prepared as you can be. If you need help assessing your upcoming needs and preparing a budget, seek out a Financial Advisor that can sit with you and give you some guidance. With so many things that you cannot control, it is always prudent to focus on what you can control and do the best you can.

If you don’t have a Financial Advisor, please feel free to call me and I’ll be happy to set up a time to talk with you.

Buddy Hicks is a Financial Advisor with Wealth Management Group LLC an affiliate firm of Securian Financial Services and has over 18 years of experience in the financial services business. He is Life and Health Insurance licensed and FINRA registered with his Series 7 and Series 66 which allows him to be an Investment Advisor Representative and Registered Representative of and offer securities and investment advisory services through Securian Financial Services Inc, member FINRA / SIPC. He is an Alumnus of Troy University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business/Finance. He takes a process approach with all of his clients to help determine their goals and then works with them to put a strategy in place to help reach those goals. An area of importance of Buddy’s is his ability to intuitively listen to his clients so that he can fully understand their current situation and what their future needs might be.

Wealth Management Group, LLC



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