5 questions you’ll be thankful you asked.
Now that we’re closing in on the holiday season, most of us will be spending a lot of time with our families. Here are some topics of conversation that might be worth your while to talk to your loved ones about over some turkey and delicious sides.
1. Did you start a new job?
If someone you know started a new job, it is sure to be a very exciting time – but there are a lot of different items to consider! Make sure he or she has thoroughly reviewed the medical benefits and their costs, as well as the 401(k)/retirement plan. If there is an employer match opportunity, your family member should try to take full advantage of that and should make sure they are ready to sign up for the program as soon as they are eligible. They should also speak to an advisor to learn about their options if they had a retirement plan at their old job. Typically, he or she can choose to leave it there, potentially roll it over into their new plan, or move it to another qualified savings vehicle, like an IRA. It’s important to make sure they are well informed on what’s going on with those accounts and their new benefits.
2. Are you budgeting for holiday spending?
It’s easy to feel the love during the holidays and want to go “all out” for the ones closest to us. However, a savvy investor will always make sure to create a budget beforehand and not spend beyond his or her means. This will help you start 2019 out on the right foot without getting lost in holiday cheer. If you’re feeling creative, a DIY project might be the perfect way to give a thoughtful gift without breaking the bank. If you’re not feeling so crafty, many budgeting tools can be found online, or speak to your advisor if you need some help doing this.
3. Have you checked in on your portfolio?
It’s easy to forget about your investments as they sit in an account for years, until you’re ready to retire or access those funds. The holidays can serve as a timely reminder to check in on your investments and make sure your portfolio is on the right track to meet your goals. Use this time to be a reminder for you and your loved ones to login, check your balances, and see how your portfolio is performing and if you are on track to reach your goals.
You could also think about strategically harvesting your investment losses. Investments made outside 401(k) and IRA accounts are subject to capital gains tax. However, if investments are sold for a loss, that amount can be used to offset any capital gains or income tax. By talking to an investment professional, you may have the ability to sell losing stocks and use them to reduce your tax burden. However, PGR Solutions does not offer tax advice. Please be aware that there are many rules surrounding this, so it is not advised to take any action on your own without consulting an experienced tax professional.
4. Have you gone through your monthly bills?
Now is a great time to look through your monthly credit card statements to see if you’ve missed any recurring transactions that you no longer use – for example: gym memberships, App subscriptions, automatically renewing accounts/charges. Sometimes, you will find that you’ve been getting charged tiny fees here and there that don’t feel like much, but when you look back – they tend to add up. This is also a way to help with budgeting for the 2019 year. Throughout the process of looking through these statements, you might find that you splurged in a particular area this year, and the New Year is a great time to reign in those frivolous purchases and start stashing those dollars into savings instead.
5. Have you checked your credit?
Some credit card companies and financial apps, like Mint, will let you do this for free. Before entering the holiday season and the New Year, it may be helpful to know where you stand and what you can do to increase your credit. This will better prepare you for any large financial decisions or purchases you plan to make in 2019. It will also help you spot identity theft and see where you can make improvements in your spending or planning.
In the midst of all of these important financial questions, don’t forget to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you and wish them well for the coming year!