We are a little more than halfway through 2022 and before you know it Fall will be here. Whether you’re excited for the cooler months ahead or just trying to relish every last bit of summer, now is a great time to slow down and take stock of your entire financial picture.
How is it lining up with your year-end goals?
Here are a few ways you can check in on your financial health as we move through the summer season.
Check On Your Current Debt
Last year, holiday retail sales hit a staggering $843 billion, meaning our spending is most likely to continue and not slow down anytime soon especially since the holiday season is just around the corner.1 In fact, people expect to spend around $800 on Christmas presents alone - that doesn’t include holiday parties, decorations, travel, etc.2 Armed with this data, we can reasonably expect our spending to increase towards the end of the year. Now is a great time to evaluate any current debt you may have accumulated throughout this year or debt you are carrying from years past.
Write down all debt currently owed including credit cards, student loans, mortgages, and car payments. Also include things like the minimum payment on each debt and due dates. Once you have everything laid out and organized in one place, you can begin focusing on how to minimize or eliminate certain debts. For example, you might want to pay extra to one debt, you could try negotiating a lower interest rate on a credit card or look into transferring the debt to another company.
Seeing all your debt in one place may sound stressful, but it can be very therapeutic and an important first step in taking control and minimizing what you can.
Check On Your Credit Score
Do you remember the last time you checked your credit score? It’s possible (and likely) that you have never checked it except when it’s time to apply for a new credit card, take out a loan or make any other large purchases. Using my wife as an example, she has no clue what her credit score is until she wants to buy something.
If you haven’t looked into it in a while (or ever), now’s the time. Your credit score is a quick way to give you a decent overview of your financial health. In addition, it can help make you aware of any potential red flags such as missed payments, unauthorized use of your credit cards, or worse, identity theft.
Check On Your Savings
It's the summer, we all go on family vacations, weekend trips, and summer concerts, and enjoy the warm weather and all it has to offer. But, all of that entertainment can cost quite a bit. The temptation to tap into your savings is strong, and if you did - believe me, you’re not alone. But as I said earlier, the holidays are coming. Now is the perfect time to work towards refilling your savings.
If you set a savings goal for the year, do a quick progress report. Have you nearly reached your goal? If so, great! If not, it's not the end of the world. You have the rest of the year to challenge yourself to save more. If you are completely off the mark, now is the time you get to choose if you want to be a person of action or a person who freezes. If you want to take action, start by identifying where you're spending your money and then focus on adjusting your spending habits to better support your savings goal.
Check On Your Goals
Think back on everything that’s happened this year and over the past two years. It’s likely some unexpected events occurred, isn’t it? Unfortunate events like divorce, death, or property damage to exciting celebrations like marriage proposals and births, these moments both large and small can have a massive impact on your financial standings and goals. Right here, right now is the time to revisit your goals from the beginning of the year and make sure they are still well-aligned with your current standings and what you want out of this year. If not, let's create new goals. Let's take some time to look at your entire financial picture and future needs, and create the goals that better reflect them.
If today isn't the day, that's okay - tomorrow is another chance to work at it. But, with a bit of preparation, you can enter the second half of the year feeling financially confident and on track to meet your goals. As vacations wind down and school starts back up, take some time for yourself to readjust, reevaluate and rethink to stay on track for the rest of the year. Your future self will thank you!
If you would like to discuss your current situation schedule a free 20-minute call with the link below.
|About the Author
James M. Comblo, CFF
is the President & CEO of FSC Wealth Advisors. His greatest passion in the financial services industry is helping clients live the life they want, not the life they are forced to. To learn more about him click here.
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