As the holidays approach, I can’t stop fixating on the fact that we are about to hit 2020. It seems like yesterday that the world was supposed to end at Y2K. Yet, here we are 20 years later, still plugging along, some things better, some things worse. But, being a nerd, I do love the numerical symmetry of this upcoming year – 2020. With a number like that, it has the makings for an epic year and decade to come. So, let’s prepare for this monumental event with Twenty Do’s and Don’ts for 2020 so we kick this decade off right.
- Do plan your spending ahead of time, at least month by month. It will help in numerous ways.
- Don’t keep up with the Joneses. Who likes those guys anyway?
- Do track your purchases for a couple weeks to see where your money is going.
- Don’t look at the market/your investments every day – it will drive you bananas. Play the long game.
- Do enlist the help of a qualified financial advisor at a firm with a talented and deep bench to plan your financial future and to run your retirement projections so you can make proper adjustments as you proceed through life.
- Don’t ignore your credit score and credit report. If something looks awry – deal with it immediately.
- Do implement a savings plan and automate it.
- Don’t ignore your workplace benefits. Take advantage of any employer retirement matches, HSA plans, etc.
- Do calculate your essential monthly expenses and have at least three months of it saved in an emergency fund. Poop happens. Be prepared.
- Don’t speak, write or post the term “New Year, New Me.” Just don’t.
- Do take advantage of 401(k) catch-up provisions once you hit age 50. When that nest empties, ramp up your savings even more.
- Do try to move/exercise regularly. You can’t enjoy your hard-earned retirement if you’re battling health problems. Movement is crucial.
- Do know your risk tolerance. A portfolio of 90% equities is equipped for substantial gains during the bull markets but could suffer more significant losses when the bear appears. Make sure you have the stomach to weather the downturns and if not, a more moderate/balanced portfolio is likely appropriate.
- Don’t give up. If you have a month where spending was inordinately high and you didn’t save or stick to your budget, it’s okay. Regroup, reload, and fire away next month. You got this.
- Do revisit your investment accounts with your financial advisor regularly. Don’t set and forget; circumstances change.
- Don’t put “wants” ahead of “needs”. See, Number Two. Stay in your lane, stick to your game plan.
- Do, once a week, sing embarrassingly loud. It’s good for the soul.
- Don’t try to market time. Missing just a few of the best days of the market will substantially lower your performance over a twenty year time span. Patience grasshopper, patience.
- Do be properly insured. Providing for your loved ones makes you sleep better. Sleep is good.
- Don’t overspend on housing. Being house poor limits your retirement savings, your vacations, your children’s college savings – it limits everything.
And, so as to not end on a “Don’t”, one more: Do have an amazing Christmas and New Year. Laugh. Eat. Drink. Be merry. Be safe. Live well, live with love. Until next year.
Original content provided by Gregory Mattacola, Esq., Financial Advisor at Strategic Financial Services.
Content is provided for educational purposes only and should not be used as the basis upon which to make investment or financial decisions.
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