Take an Annual Financial Check-Up

Anytime is an ideal time to sit back and review your finances. Depending on the time of the year, you may be able to make changes to help you prepare for filing your annual tax return. Or you may simply take advantage of new opportunities arising from changes in your personal situation.

Regardless, here are some areas to consider:

Insurance

  1. Have you chosen deductibles that provide lower premiums with an acceptable level of risk?
  2. Do you have an umbrella liability policy for potential large damages?
  3. Do you have enough life insurance? BB&T also offers a cost-effective term life policy with no medical exam and fixed monthly premiums.
  4. Have you considered a life insurance trust to keep insurance proceeds from being taxed as part of your estate?

Mortgage

  1. Could you reduce your monthly mortgage payments by refinancing your mortgage? (BB&T has several calculators that can help you determine possible reductions in your mortgage payments.)
  2.  Should you consider some other type of mortgage (ARM, 15-year, 30-year) that corresponds with how long you plan to stay in your current home?

Household spending

  1. Have you analyzed your monthly spending to identify ways to save?
  2. Do you have a household budget?

Retirement planning

  1. Have you calculated your retirement income and asset needs? (BB&T has many calculators you can use to estimate your retirement needs.)
  2. Are you taking full advantage of your employer’s 401(k) plan or other retirement plan?
  3. Should you consider converting your IRA to a Roth IRA? (BB&T’s retirement planning calculators can help you decide.)

College funding

  1. Are you regularly saving for a child’s college expenses?
  2. Have you investigated Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (Education IRAs) or Qualified Tuition (Section 529) Plans? These types of accounts provide tax advantages making accumulating funds for college easier.

Your investments

  1. Do you have an asset allocation plan to serve as a framework for your individual investment decisions?
  2. Have you reviewed your portfolio holdings recently?
  3. Does your investment strategy match your time horizon and risk tolerance?

Income taxes

  1. Are your withholding and estimated tax payments at the right level?
  2. Have you considered deferring income to next year or accelerating deductions to this year to delay paying tax for a year?
  3. Are you possibly subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)? Stock option exercise, large deductions or the phase out of the benefits of personal exemptions at high-income levels could subject you to this tax. Contact your tax professional if you think you may be subject to AMT.

Estate planning

  1. Have you had your estate plan reviewed recently? If you have moved, had a change in your family situation (births or deaths), or a change in your financial status, you may want to schedule a review with your advisor.
  2. Have you designated an executor for your estate?
  3. Have you named guardians for your children in the event of your untimely demise?
  4. Does your estate plan reflect changing estate tax laws?

Taking control of your financial future is an ongoing process that requires some time and effort. Consider using a weekend to review your finances. Hopefully, everything is fine. If not, take the necessary actions for your sake and your family’s.

 

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