Friday, 14 May 2010 15:00
You set-up your 401(k) when you started your job 10 years ago; you haven’t adjusted your budget since you bought your new car; and you haven’t started saving for college for your 12 year old. It’s time for a check-up!
Let’s face it, there’s work involved in setting up a budget, reviewing your investment portfolio, and changing your direct deposit, but life changes demand that you adjust your financial outlook.
Here are a few items that require a check-up:
Make sure to adjust the percentage that you are contributing to your retirement based on salary increases. The 3% you started out with may need to be adjusted to 7% or more. Also, if your plan doesn’t automatically adjust your risk based on years until retirement, make sure you decrease the amount of risk as you get closer to retirement age.
If anything changes financially like paying off a loan or credit card, adding a car payment, or salary changes, you need to adjust your budget. Determine if you need to consolidate some of your debt, if you can afford to save more for retirement, or put more money toward your mortgage once a loan or credit card is paid off. If you don’t allocate that money, you’ll more than likely spend it.
Always review what your savings needs are whether it’s saving for the short or long-term. Like when you add a child to your family, make sure you adjust your college savings accordingly. If your lifestyle has changed such as a larger mortgage or additional monthly costs, make sure your “rainy day” or emergency fund covers your new lifestyle.
With all of life’s changes, it’s important to plan for the unexpected. Make sure you review your life insurance to make sure your family would be well taken care of if something were to happen to you. The policy you had 10 years ago may need to be adjusted to cover your new lifestyle.