Are you still on track to meet your investment goals? With all the market volatility in the last quarter of 2018, which may continue through 2019, it is important to take some time early in the new year to review your financial plan and investment strategies to ensure your portfolio is headed in the right direction.
This doesn’t need to be a dreaded exercise. Take advantage of the winter weather-inspired urge to cuddle up at home, put on some fuzzy slippers, and brew up a cup of something warm and yummy. Then devote evening or weekend time to check on your retirement plans. Here are some tips to get you started.
Look at the big picture—and the details. Calculate whether the funds you’ve accumulated in savings and investment accounts are on track to meet your financial needs during retirement. You can do this yourself with online tools for a rough calculation or consult with a financial advisor who can help simplify the process and provide a more comprehensive scenario. Financial professionals also have access to financial planning and risk variance tools that help guide you in making adjustments to help you stay on track toward reaching your goals. To simplify even further, you may want to consider consolidating your investment and retirement accounts in one place.
See if you’re saving enough. If you find that you are off track, determine why. There are typically three common reasons: you may not be saving and investing as much as you thought you were; you might not be maximizing the benefits of your retirement accounts, employer-sponsored plans or adding enough in your investment portfolio; or your investments may not be performing as well as you expected or hoped they would. If you find the latter to be true, it is wise to reassess the investment strategies you selected, understand the risk and how it ties into your long-term financial and investment planning. Again, this is where an experienced financial advisor can be helpful. Setting or re-setting appropriate expectations as aligned with the risk of your portfolio and time horizon is a necessity in staying the course.
Make course corrections. If your retirement allocation isn’t keeping pace with your end goals, you may want to reassess and make some changes. For instance, you could increase your planned retirement age or at retirement, work part-time for a few years to give yourself more time to save. Or, you could adjust the amount you are budgeting for living expenses when you retire. Another option is to adjust the risk level of your investments and, potentially, take on higher risk with a long-term view toward more lucrative returns—but that may make for a bumpier ride along the way. You may find that the best answer for you is a combination of these choices. To make an informed decision, you’ll need a solid understanding of your own projected cash flow needs, risk tolerance and investment options.
You work hard for your money, and you want your money to work for you now and in retirement. Financial planning and investment strategies are fluid, so ongoing monitoring of your savings and investment progress will help ensure that your plan is on track to meet your goals. When you’re ready, set an appointment with a financial advisor who can help you achieve the financial independence and retirement lifestyle you’ve envisioned. You might consider bringing a cup of something warm and yummy as a kind gesture—but remember to take off your slippers first.
Photo by Reinaldo Kevin
Lisa Taranto Schiffer
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