Ah, back to school. Freshly washed blackboards. Pristine pencils. New backpacks and lunch boxes. The sounds of football teams practicing. The sights of changing leaves. That crisp fall smell. The nervous anticipation.
Whether kindergarten or college, there is no denying that this time of year is an exciting one – a rebirth of sorts.
This isn’t limited to the school aged. The grown-ups of the world also seem to still operate on the school calendar. We ease a bit off the gas pedal in the summer months and take some time to recharge but once the last Labor Day hamburger has disappeared, we collectively kick it up a notch.
Myself, I love it. It’s a welcome intensity. There are four months left in the calendar year and there is plenty of time to revisit those goals and objectives you may have set in January.
Off track? No problem. It’s time to get back on track and finish the year strong.
Toward that end – take this time to review your financial goals and take your financial temperature. It’s a perfect time to do it.
Holidays and their added expense loom on the horizon. Efforts taken now will ease that stress come November and December. Just like the back to school checklists that we use for our children, here are a few items to review so that you end the year strong.
Weekly/Monthly Expenses – do you see areas that can be trimmed/cut? Too many monthly streaming subscriptions? Dining out too often?
Regular contributions to your savings/emergency fund – can you survive three months on what is in there? If not, it’s an area to work on.
Are you maximizing your 401k contributions/employer match? Don’t ever turn down free money. Maximize the match.
Have you sat and done projections with your financial advisor that consider your current retirement savings, your ongoing contributions and your desired retirement age? The results of these can be sobering. It’s time to do it if you haven’t.
Have you gotten your basic estate documents into place? It’s never pleasant but it’s a load off your shoulders when it’s done.
With your little ones heading off to school, do you have regular, systematic college savings deposits going into a 529 plan? The rising tuition rate is bordering on criminal conduct, if it hasn’t gotten crossed over already. Every penny will help.
What is your mortgage interest rate? It never hurts to look periodically and see if there is a better rate which will save you money long term. Again, a tedious, annoying task but it could be well worth the effort.
As the kids get acclimated to the new school year, take the time to go through this list. It will help you prepare for those coming expenses and get you closer to achieving your 2019 financial goals.
And as football season kicks into full gear, I’d be remiss if I didn’t say “Go RFA Black Knights!” This will be my last year to watch my son play football and it saddens me to say the least. Here’s hoping for a safe and successful year for the team.
Live well, live with love. Until next time.
Original content provided by Gregory Mattacola, Esq., Financial Advisor at Strategic Financial Services.
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