Is Autopilot Steering You Off Course… Financially?

Sometimes we put our lives on autopilot. We join a gym or subscribe to a magazine and never think about it until the next January, when our membership ends and we make another resolution to ignore. Now that it’s halfway through the year, it’s important to check in with a few things that you might have forgotten about. Here’s a list of 4 things to look into to keep your finances, and life, in order.

You need a plan if you want to reach your destination
You need a plan if you want to reach your destination

1. Insurance

Maybe you had all the coverage you needed when you started that policy, but did you have any life changes so far this year? Did you get married, have a baby, or move to a new home? These, and many other events could mean that you have too little or even too much coverage now. If you think your car isn’t worth as much, maybe you don’t need to pay the same rate, or maybe you can raise your deductible. Check with your insurance company about adjusting your limits to a more appropriate level.

2. Investments

It’s important to check up on your investments every so often. Whether that’s retirement, college savings, or some other investment account. It’s a good idea to rebalance your portfolio every so often. We usually recommend every 6 months, but sometimes it needs it sooner. A good Investment adviser can keep track of that for you, but if you insist on going it alone, then read on.

Rebalancing means you want to adjust how much money you have invested in different areas. If you set up your portfolio to have, say, 10% exposure to South East Asia, and now that has grown to 15% then it might be time to sell off some of that investment so it can come back down to 10%.

Besides rebalancing your portfolio, it might also be a good idea to look into investment companies. Automated investment services are all the rage now, and Acorns is one that can help you get started.

Acorns is a phone app that links to your bank account. They will automatically round-up your purchases and transfer funds into an investment account for you. Similar to how credit cards often round-up purchases for reward points. The great thing about acorns is that you can invest with only a few dollars and you can contribute just pennies at a time.

3. Budgeting

Budgeting is one of those things I was talking about before that we so easily put on autopilot. We’ll often start a budget, then just forget about it when it gets too hard or we see a great deal that we just have to have. Now is the time to recreate that budget and this time we’ll set ourselves up to succeed! Mint is one of those apps that helps you actually stick to your budget.

Mint is a great resource for personal budgeting. They can link to your credit and debit cards, investment accounts, and your student loan debts. They will keep track of all of your spending and allow you to set a budget for the week or month. Then notify you if you are going over. You can set specific budgets like only spending $50 on clothing this week, or limit to $200 a week in food. Being able to track your spending and see how you can improve makes sticking to that budget much easier.

4. Estate Planning

Did you have a kid this year? Get married? Buy a boat? Basically if anyone has had a reason to tell you congratulations this year, then it probably means you should update your will. If you don’t know what will happen to your property when you die, or you aren’t sure how your family will be handling your funeral, then now is a good time to talk to an estate planning attorney. They can help you set up a trust for your children, write a will that covers all the bases, and make sure you are all set for the future of your family.

Finally

The hardest part about personal finance is actually doing what it takes to succeed. Anyone can read this article, and we all know that we need to be diligent about our finances, but actually committing to the necessary steps is the hardest part. If you think you’re struggling in the willpower department, then maybe it’s time to call in professional help. Contact Arbogast Advisers on our About page and we’ll be there to make sure you stay on track with these steps.

*Note: Arbogast Advisers LLC does not have any referral programs or any other formal arrangements with any of the companies linked within this article. We neither pay, nor receive any compensation for their inclusion here.

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