Financial Planning Newsletter
RESOLUTIONS FOR 2011:
I am not typically one to make New Year's Resolutions, but thought it would be a fun way to incorporate a checklist of items that you might find useful as we enter 2011, so here goes:
1. Review investment strategy in retirement accounts: If you rode the market down in 08/09 and now have recouped some losses, it is time to take a look at your strategy going forward. This bounce back is close to 2 years old and won't last forever. Evaluate your investment strategy and consider reallocating to better suit your risk tolerance and objectives.
2. Learn more about investing: In regards to item 1 above, to change your strategy you need a basic understanding of different investments. Resolve to learn the basics about mutual funds, ETF's, stocks, bonds and some basic economics. There are a lot of resources available in print and on the web, or simply pester your financial planner for a crash course.
3. Resolve to build a decent Cash Reserve: Having a good cash reserve account can provide you with not only that "emergency" money for periods when you need help with the bills, but it can also provide some fun money for opportunities.
4. Review your everyday purchases and look for ways to save a few bucks: Everyone likes to save money, so why not spend just a few minutes on the computer to see if you can save on everyday purchases. Here are a few sites to check out:
- Couponmom.com: my wife found this one as a way to save on groceries. If we can save $25 to $30 on average a week, it's worth the time.
- Travel: for airlines and car rental I really like Kayak.com, it pulls in the prices from all the travel sites. Of course the big travel sites like Expedia or Travelocity are great for the package deals. Don't forget about VRBO.com for that summer vacation house rental.
- Prescriptions: For onetime medications most of the pharmacy's offer a list of low cost medications and generics (antibiotics and commonly used meds). You just have to ask for them instead of handing the pharmacist the prescription from your doc and letting them fill it with name brand drugs. There are also online resources to compare costs of prescriptions that you may take on a routine basis: pharmacychecker.com, pharmacyreviewer.com and don't forget about costco.com!
- Cost comparison: my personal favorite is mysimon.com, but there are many out there. Before purchasing any electronic or big ticket item do a websearch to see where the deals are.
- Finance: curious if you should refinance? Bankrate.com offers some good calculators. You can also hit my site: myvizer.com for mortgage calculators.
4. Clean out that garage / basement and make a few dollars: I am a self professed Craigslist.com junky. Over the past few months I have sold kids toys, furniture, left over construction materials and housewares on Craigslist. I have also purchased a few items that were a fraction of the price of new. If you are looking to declutter then check it out.
5. Set Personal Goals for this year and beyond: Okay, I am a financial planner so I have to put in this one. Whether its business, personal, financial, or even fun goals, go ahead and make a plan and put it in action.
Have a great week. Next month we will expand on some of these items beginning with Investing 101. As always if you have any questions please feel free to email.