Getting your financial house in order

Author

Edward Jones - Chad Choate, AAMS

Posted on

Jul 25, 2023

Book/Edition

Florida - Sarasota, Bradenton & Charlotte Counties

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Many of us have found that our priorities and perspectives have shifted with recent events. Your financial strategy may need to adjust accordingly, and now may be the perfect opportunity to get your financial house a little more in order, putting you on better footing for whatever the future holds. Here are a few things to consider – pick and choose which apply most to your financial situation.

Build/Adjust your budget

  • Create your budget: Collect a few months' worth of bank and credit card statements so you can understand how much money you have to work with and where it's going.
  • Cancel subscriptions you're not using: These are generally small monthly charges but add up over time.
  • Check for lower insurance rates: Ensure you're getting the best rate without sacrificing coverage.
  • Refinance your mortgage: Your local lender should be able to compare your current terms to the rates available now to determine if you would benefit from refinancing your mortgage.

Tackle your debt

  • Add it all up: Make note of the type of debt (credit card, student loan, auto payment, etc.), the total amount owed, the minimum payment and the interest rate being charged.
  • Check your credit report: Mistakes on credit reports are incredibly common, so make sure everything is accurate and there are no negative errors that could result in you paying more for your debt.
  • Consolidate your debt: This can mean fewer payments with balances being charged lower interest rates. Be aware of any fees that get charged and the potential impact to your credit score.
  • Make a plan to pay it down: Determine how much money you have to reduce debt, and then make a plan for paying it down. This can be a particularly tough step, so don't hesitate to reach out to your financial advisor for help.
  • Read more about tackling your debt.

Safeguard your plan

  • Plan your emergency savings: Emergency savings help protect against an unexpected expense and/or loss of income. Even relatively small amounts of savings can help create financial stability.
  • Do an insurance checkup: Your financial advisor can explain the importance of different types of insurance (life, disability, long-term care, etc.) and determine if you have adequate coverage.
  • Set up a password manager: Having unique and secure passwords for different accounts, especially your financial accounts, creates more security to protect you from online threats.
  • Consider freezing your credit: Placing a freeze on your credit reports restricts access and makes it more difficult for identify thieves to open new accounts without your knowledge.
  • Read more about preparing for the unexpected.

Take advantage of market fluctuations

  • Invest toward future goals: Although past performance is not a guarantee of future results, pull-backs in the market have historically been a great time to invest. Your financial advisor can help you determine how best to put your money to work to help you meet your financial goals.
  • Rebalance: Large market swings can throw off the balance you want among your investments. Revisit your portfolio to ensure your investments are properly aligned to keep you on the right track.
  • Roth conversion: If you have a traditional retirement account, a down market or year in which you have lower income can be an opportune time if you've been wanting to convert it to a Roth retirement account. Talk with your financial advisor and tax professional to determine if this could be beneficial.
  • Tax loss harvesting: If you have taxable investments, selling at a loss can reduce your tax bill. It's best to talk with your financial advisor and tax professional to determine if this is an appropriate strategy.

Ensure your wishes are honored

  • Update beneficiaries: The beneficiaries for your financial accounts (bank, savings, retirement, and investments), as well as your insurance and annuity policies, instruct these institutions on who the funds should go to if something happens to you. Read more about beneficiary designations.
  • Create or update legal documents: Many legal professionals are taking appointments remotely, allowing you to create (or update) important documents like advanced directives, medical or financial power of attorney and a will from home.
  • Organize and share your legal documents: If you've already got your legal documents in place and updated, now is a good time to get them organized and share them with key people.
  • Your financial advisor or legal professional can help you with these important documents.

Start a conversation

  • Talk with your parent(s): Determine how your parents plan on meeting any long-term care needs they might have, who has their financial and medical powers of attorney, and their end-of-life wishes.
  • Teach your young children: Take some time to share money lessons with your children. Being transparent and open now will help them navigate their finances as adults.
  • Share with your adult children – At a minimum your children should understand who has health care and financial decision-making rights for you, as well as your end-of-life wishes.
  • Ask for help – We can help you navigate through the financial to-dos and conversations that can otherwise feel overwhelming. That's what we're here for!
  • Read more about family financial conversations.

Whether it's talking to older parents about their long-term care needs, your young kids about early money lessons or your adult children about your own plans, having those conversations now can help you be better prepared for the future. Not everything will apply to your situation, but taking even one small step today can help ensure your financial house is in order for whatever tomorrow holds.

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Local Services By This Author

Edward Jones - Chad Choate, AAMS

Financial Advisor 828 3rd Ave. W., Bradenton, Florida, 34205

Hello, I'm Chad Choate a dedicated financial advisor in Bradenton, FL, I began my career with Edward Jones in 2017. As a financial advisor, I want to find out what's important to you and help you build personalized strategies to achieve your goals. As a lifelong Manatee County resident, I graduated from the University of South Florida and was a teacher in Manatee County before joining Edward Jones. My driving force is to change people's lives in a positive way, and what better place than my home to do that. Whether you're planning for retirement, saving for college for children or grandchildren or just trying to protect the financial future of the ones you care for the most, we can work together to develop specific strategies to help you achieve your goals. We will also monitor your progress to help make sure you stay on track or determine if any adjustments need to be made. Throughout it all, we're dedicated to providing you with top-notch client service. But we're not alone. Thousands of people and advanced technology support from our office can help ensure you receive the most current and comprehensive guidance. In addition, we welcome the opportunity to work with your attorney, accountant and other trusted professionals to deliver a comprehensive strategy that leverages everyone's expertise. Working together, we can help you develop a complete, tailored strategy to help you achieve your financial goals. I currently volunteer with the Manatee Hurricane football Broadcast and Booster Club, serve on my church's trustees council and have previously served as a leader in Young Life. I am a member of the Manatee Chamber of Commerce and an alumnus of their Leadership Manatee program. I have been married to my childhood sweetheart, Ashley, for 15 years and we have a son, Wesley, and daughter, Camryn. We enjoy watching our children play their sports and traveling as a family.