By Mary Jo Lyons, CFP®
The sayings “get er done!” or “just do it!” are common for a reason. They resonate with most of us as we all tend to procrastinate when it comes to our task list.
Procrastination is one of the biggest and most dangerous reasons for financial failure. With a new year comes the opportunity to start off right and begin accomplishing those things you’ve been putting off. You are not alone. We are all guilty of procrastination from time to time! It is easy to put off until tomorrow what we should be doing today.
There are 5 important financial areas that should never fall victim to procrastination. Delaying these important tasks can be costly for yourself as well as your loved ones.
1. Estate Planning
An inheritance gained hurriedly at the beginning will not be blessed in the end.
Estate Planning: How long has it been since you’ve updated your estate planning documents? Have things changed over the last 5 years? Do you have an estate plan consisting of at least a will and a health care directive? No? Then it’s time to schedule an appointment to get it done. Can you imagine what procrastinating about this could do to your family? Have you moved? Do you have property in multiple states? This is a key reason to take action.
2. Risk Management
Divide your investments among many places, for you do not know what risks might lie ahead.
Risk Management / Insurance Policies: How long has it been since you have gone over all of your policies with an independent insurance advisor? Can you get better coverage for less money? Do you think you are well covered in the event of an accident? More times than not we discover that property and casualty insurance was bought on price rather than coverage. Does your homeowners policy have replacement coverage? Have you recently added a pool or bought a 4 wheeler and you don’t have a personal liability policy? Procrastination on this one…ouch!
3. Savings & Investing for the Future
Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.
Investing and Saving for Your Future Needs: How long has it been since you have had an annual review to make sure you’re still on the right path for your specific situation. Are you well positioned for a potential major downturn in the markets as well as a major rally to take advantage of the markets? Are you aware of exactly how all your investments are positioned in your retirement plans? Old brokerage accounts? Could you reposition your CDs or savings to another financial institution for a better rate of return? If you are still on the sidelines is now a good buying opportunity? Procrastination on this one could cost you thousands.
4. Tax Planning
Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
Tax Planning: How long has it been since you’ve gone over all the potential legal tax strategies you could be using to lower your tax burden with an experienced advisor? Taking a proactive approach towards tax planning if you’re a high income earner can make a huge difference. Procrastinating could be costing you thousands of dollars in unnecessary taxes. Could you use this money for better causes?
Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds; for riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations.
Daily Tracking of Expenses: Do you know where everything is anytime of day? This day and age most of us pay for ordinary expenses like groceries, eating out, clothing, gasoline, etc.., with a debit or credit card. We all have multiple bank accounts, investment accounts and even credit card accounts for personal and business expenditures that we pay off monthly. Fortunately nearly all financial institutions today allow you to track your spending, investments and account balances anytime with online access and you should. If you’re not monitoring all your accounts with different institutions how would you know if a hacker accessed your accounts until it’s too late to stop them?
We have a system that you can monitor all or your accounts at the same time, on a daily basis with an app on your smartphone or tablet. For your safety, the system does not allow any money to be moved or transferred. It is strictly a monitoring system. It keeps track of all your expenses and consolidates them daily so you will know at anytime what you spent. It even lets you know if you’ve gone over budget. This incredible monitoring system is offered free for clients of CIS Wealth management.
Why do you need it? Because those that know where they are financially do better than those who don’t.
Over the years I have found that the hardest part is just getting started. The task is never as onerous as we think it’s going to be. Once you start you get on a roll and find that it feels really good to make progress and get your financial life in order. It’s freeing! Once you start to see your balances grow and your savings goals materialize it brings a certain amount of peace. It’s sort of like cleaning out those closets… you hate to start but love it when it’s done! So just do it!