Summer is when our thoughts turn to longer days, warmth, relaxation, and well-earned vacations. It’s also a time to take a few carefully considered steps that can pay big dividends when days are shorter and there’s less time for long-term, year-end strategies. As summer begins, follow these tips to help keep you financially fit for the rest of the year.
Review your retirement accounts—including Social Security
Any time of year is a good time to review your retirement accounts, including Social Security, to ensure you’re on track for a comfortable retirement, your allocations meet both your short and long-term goals, and you understand when your Social Security benefits begin. Start by accessing the official Social Security website and view your statements, earnings history, and estimated retirement benefits.
We can help you get the most out of understanding your personal retirement accounts and assisting you with any useful changes that may provide an advantage as the year goes on.
Assess your withholding and general tax circumstances
With luck, you filed your taxes by or on April 15 with no stress. If you filed for an extension and haven’t yet submitted your final 1040, you probably know you shouldn’t put it off any longer. There are several tax law changes that become effective this year we can help you plan for and understand. If you adjust your withholding or quarterly tax payments now, you’re less likely required to increase your withholding near year-end, just before the holidays.
Revisit your vacation plans and budget
Whether you plan to take a once-in-a-lifetime trip to far-off lands or remain close to home for a staycation, it’s worthwhile to review your plans and carefully check the costs. Airfare and hotel prices fluctuate over time and tend to be higher in the summer, so if you have plans but haven’t booked flights and hotel rooms, check on prices now.
True, prices usually go up as you get closer to your travel dates, but sometimes—depending on your risk tolerance—you can be surprised and find a last-minute bargain. However, if you go on vacation without making any plans, you may be more likely to spend more without getting additional value for your money. And if you’ve had unexpected expenses over the previous months (like household or automotive repairs, or medical bills), it might be a good idea to scale back your travel plans, or you’ll risk coming up short in case you have additional unexpected expenses later in the year.
Periodically check your credit card statements for recurring charges
Autopay is a wonderful invention, helping us keep track of bills and avoiding late charges. But it also makes it easy to quickly sign up for subscriptions and dash off a donation or two without really thinking about how it affects the bigger picture.
Even if your utilities and regular expenses are on autopay, frequently review the bills to be sure there are no errors. An exceptionally high water bill might mean there was an error, but it could also mean you have an undetected leak that’s causing expensive damage. While you’re checking, review your regular payments to see if there are any you no longer need. Be sure to cancel them to free up those funds, so you can work toward reaching your financial goals faster.
These tips are easy to follow and will help you stay financially fit, not only through the summer but also as the year progresses. If you have any questions about staying financially fit throughout the year, call my office at 305-751-8855 for an appointment, and have a restful—and financially relaxing—summer!