Is 2022 seriously halfway over? It feels like we celebrated Thanksgiving just the other day!
Whether formalized or not, we all have goals we want to accomplish – personal, professional, and financial.
Much like how setting up doctor visits is key to maintaining good health, assessing your financial progress is key to achieving financial wellness.
Who says you can only do a financial checklist at the end of the year? A lot can happen in six months, and that’s why, as we close out the first half of the year, it pays to audit your financial life.
Here’s a checklist to help make sure you’re on track.
1. Reflect on The First Half of The Year
It’s easy to get caught up in the craziness of everyday life, so with half of the year gone, now is a great time to pause and reflect on the things you have accomplished so far and whether those things have helped you improve your situation.
Experienced any significant life changes in the first half of the year? Maybe you inherited some money or got married (congratulations!). Meet with your financial advisor to see how these changes may have impacted your overall financial portfolio.
At the same time, however, there’s still enough time to review the things that still need to be done and to make progress on them.
2. Ensure You Have A Healthy Level of Emergency Fund
Many working adults become overly comfortable with employment. Life can be choke-full of surprises, and a cash cushion provides a crucial safety net for unanticipated turns. Remember that an unexpected expense such as job loss or a car repair could set you back financially.
Most financial planning experts recommend having 3-6 months’ worth of living expenses in an accessible interest-bearing savings account.
Use your mid-year financial check-up to take a closer look and determine whether you’re on the right track or should consider boosting this cash reserve.
If your emergency fund isn’t adequate, create a savings plan to reach your target in a realistic time frame.
3. Check on Your Investments
Take a close look at your investments. Have they experienced growth since the start of the year? If not, it may be time to get more aggressive!
We all saw how quickly things changed when COVID hit. So, too, can your life situation. Your investment portfolio should reflect objectives that fit your current life stage.
Ensure your financial plan still fits your age, risk tolerance, tax status, and time horizon.
During midyear checkups, you can assess your progress toward retirement and ensure you remain on pace to retire at your target date and net worth.
If you were lucky to receive a promotion or pay hike, you might want to look for opportunities to increase contributions to retirement accounts. Even a small increase can go a long way toward helping you accomplish your retirement goals.
4. Review Your Budget
Remember that budget you created at the start of the year? How well is it holding up? What’s your average income and expense every month since then?
Creating a budget is easy but sticking to it is a whole different story. We’ve all purchased subscriptions impulsively or fallen trap to free trial offers.
While it can be tedious, maintaining a defined, up-to-date budget is vital to ensuring that you’re on track to realize your financial goals.
Sit down and record what you’re earned and spent in the last 6 months. On request, banks and credit card companies provide spending summaries. Next, divide your spending into categories such as food, rent, utilities, health, and entertainment.
If you’re running tight on cash, consider cutting on some of your discretionary spending to get back in balance. If you have excess income, consider paying off debt or investing the surplus in an effective manner.
5. Create New Goals for The Second Half of The Year
The new half starts as quickly as the last one ends.
After updating your budget, it’s time to think about the rest of the year.
Set some new amazing goals that excite you and jot them down. Do you want to save money for your Master’s degree or have a baby? Create goals surrounding these anticipated changes.
Examining your financial habits every mid-year can help you review your progress toward goals set at the beginning of the year and plan for the remaining months.
I hope you enjoy these tips and utilize them to help you review your finances.