As changes in your life occur, are you adjusting your financial plan accordingly? We’ve put together this 10-point checklist of key areas of your financial life. Take a look and see if you are ready for the year ahead.

1. Life Changes (e.g. retirement, new family members, change of residence, etc.)

  • Do you expect changes in your personal life that will significantly impact your financial plan (switching jobs, changing your marital status, moving to another residence, etc.)?
  • Are there significant events occurring that will impact your family members, such as children going to college or getting married, parental needs, etc?

2. Overall Financial Plan Updates

  • Do you have a documented financial plan that has been reviewed within the past six months?
  • Do you expect significant changes to your income and expenses in the upcoming year?
  • Does your budget reflect your values and priorities?
  • Have you taken into account long-term compensation (e.g., stock options, restricted shares, etc.) and long-term savings (e.g., retirement plans?

3. Emergency Fund Updates

  • Do you have an emergency fund that would cover three to six months of expenses?
  • Is your emergency fund able to be accessed easily if necessary?

4. Insurance Policies and Coverage

  • Homeowners/renters: is it sufficient to cover your home and property against disasters?
  • Life insurance: will it replace your income for your dependents?
  • Disability insurance: do you have income support if you are injured or disabled?
  • Healthcare insurance: do you have suitable healthcare insurance?

5. Is It Time to Refinance?

  • Are your current loans or credit cards at higher-than-market rates? Should you consider refinancing or consolidating these loans?
  • If you have outstanding loans or credit, do you have a plan for paying back what you owe in a timely manner?

6. Gifting to Heirs or Charities

  • Have you considered making gifts to heirs while you are living to reduce the size of your estate?
  • Do you have a charitable giving strategy? Have you considered bunching charitable donations for potential tax benefits?

7. Estate Plans and Associated Legal Documents

  • Do you have an estate plan in place that accurately reflects your intentions?
  • Do you have a living will, healthcare directive, healthcare proxy and durable power of attorney?
  • Have any changes occurred that might require updates to these documents?

8. Tax Changes that May Impact You

  • Did any tax law or IRS rule changes occur that will impact your financial planning? These could include the following:
  • Changes in tax rates or deductions
  • Changes in contribution limits to retirement accounts
  • Changes to required mandatory distributions from retirement plans

9. Eligibility for Benefits and Retirement Planning Opportunities

  • If eligible, should you take advantage of catch-up contributions to your retirement accounts or HSA?
  • Are you hitting one of the key dates for eligibility for a government benefit or incentive this year (e.g., 50 for catch-up retirement account contributions, 62 for Social Security, 65 for Medicare or 70 1/2 for qualified charitable distributions)?

10. Retirement Income Plan (if retired or semi-retired)

  • Have you reviewed the status of your income sources (Social Security, pension payments, annuities, etc.)?
  • Have you reviewed your retirement expenses?
  • Do your required minimum distributions (RMDs) cover the balance of these expenses?
  • Is your retirement plan able to weather the key retirement risks (e.g., longevity, healthcare, inflation and poor market returns)?
  • Have you made adequate accommodations for healthcare needs, including appropriate Medicare options?

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