I can't really help myself. It is the "most wonderful time of the year". That time when financial advisors and writers give advice about what to do in the upcoming year. So with that in mind, here are some resolutions to consider.
Let's not try to conquer the world. But here are a couple of pretty easy ones you could take a "whack" at.
- Stop Paying Your Free-loading Uncle. If you get a tax refund this year, you gave Uncle Sam a interest free loan during 2018. Would you give anyone else (that isn't family) an interest free loan? Adjust your withholding to get a smaller refund, or in a perfect world so that you owe a couple hundred bucks when you file.
- Figure Out Your Digital Accounts (and document them too). Most of us couldn't operate anymore without our on-line bill pay and other financial apps. But, could someone take over for you if you couldn't handle your affairs? If the answer to that question is "no", now is the time to either document or teach someone how to take over your on-line financial activities.
- Review Your Estate Documents. Make sure your estate documents still reflect your wishes. Also, if you've moved after you retired from the military, make sure the documents are compliant in your new state. Be especially diligent if you've had a major life change like a marriage, divorce or arrival of kids or grandkids.
- Check Your Insurance Policies. Your old clunker is one year older. It might not make sense to continue to carry insurance for damage to the vehicle. Review your deductibles too. If you've established an emergency account, you should be able to absorb paying for $1,000 worth of damage to your vehicle or house. Raise your deductibles to $1,000 and add the premium savings to your emergency account.
- Update Your Employer Plan Contributions. The maximum contribution to a 401(k) or TSP is now $19,000 per year. If possible, increase your contribution to hit the max. If you're on active duty and not contributing the max, increase your contribution by 1%. You got a 2%+ raise, so you shouldn't even miss the money you're contributing.
None of these changes will make you an instant millionaire. But none of them will take you all that long either. If you can get two or three of them done this year, you'll be well on your way to a better financial future.
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