By Thomas Britt
It’s hard to believe it’s already 2022. It seems like just yesterday we began 2021 with high hopes for a fresh start. Given that those hopes didn’t quite pan out, after an intense two years, a new year can be overwhelming to think about. But as we continue on the slow road back to “normal,” the good news is that there are actionable steps you can implement today to take back control of your finances and truly make 2022 a fresh start. Here are three ways to get started.
1. Set Financial Goals
The first way to jump-start your financial plan is to set financial goals. Do you have a goal for your finances or are you just crossing your fingers and hoping you have enough for the lifestyle you want?
Specific goals with defined timelines will help to determine the best course of action, including how much risk you can and should take with your money. Every dollar in your portfolio should be working toward a specific goal.
Remember that the best goals will be SMART:
- Specific: The more you can identify exactly what you’re saving for, the easier it will be to work toward it.
- Measurable: As much as possible, try to identify how much your financial goal will cost. Do the research to figure out what you need to save so that you’re able to see tangible progress along the way.
- Attainable: Make sure your goal is realistic and achievable. This might require some self-reflection or reevaluation of your priorities.
- Relevant: Ask yourself which goals align with your core values. Remember that your finite assets will be split amongst your seemingly infinite list of wants. The more you can scale back your list to what is truly relevant, the quicker you’ll be able to achieve each goal.
- Timely: Identify the timeline for each goal so that you can prioritize which ones need to be addressed first and how much risk you can afford to take.
2. Build Up Your Savings
If there’s one thing the last two years have taught us, it’s that it’s crucial to prepare for the unpredictable. Whether it be a pandemic, a lost job, or rising rates of inflation, sufficient savings can mean the difference between staying afloat during uncertain times and not having enough when you need it most.
If you’re not saving already, take steps to start putting a portion of your income away every month. Usually 10-15% of pre-tax income is a good guideline. Ideally, it is recommended that most people should have at least 3-6 months’ worth of non-discretionary expenses saved in a highly liquid, easily accessible emergency fund before saving toward other goals. Either way, consistent savings are the cornerstone of any solid financial plan.
Though risk is fundamental to investing, it’s also crucial that you aren’t overexposed to unnecessary risks. Take steps to evaluate your risk tolerance, based on your unique financial circumstances, stage of life, and personality, and be sure your investments align.
3. Partner With a Financial Professional
When facing any challenge in life, sometimes the perspective of an objective third party can prove invaluable. Enlisting the help of an experienced financial planner is a great way to take control of your finances and get a jump-start on the future. No matter where you’re at in the planning process or what goals you’ve set for your financial life, Benchmark Wealth Management is here to support you, guide you, and help you navigate your financial challenges.
We have the tools and expertise to help you set financial goals, build up your emergency fund, and reevaluate your risk level. In fact, by combining our skills based on education and experience with our commitment to proactive and responsive service, our ultimate goal is to deliver unsurpassed wealth management. We care about what is important to you, and strive to adhere to the highest principles, ethics, and values.
If you’re ready to start planning for the new year with a team that puts you first, please call 860.434.6890 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a consultation today.
Thomas J. Britt is managing director of Benchmark Wealth Management, LLC, with 20 years of experience in the financial industry. He specializes in executive financial planning, retirement planning, investing, as well as the management of trusts and endowments. Thomas is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional and holds the Master Planner Advanced StudiesSM, MPAS®, Certified Investment Management Analyst® (CIMA®), and Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor℠, CRPC® designations. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Finance from the University of New Haven, an MBA in financial technology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a Master of Science in Personal Financial Planning from the College for Financial Planning. He is also a proud veteran of the United States Navy Submarine Force. Learn more about Tom by connecting with him on LinkedIn.
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