Financial Planning Month

Published: Oct. 8, 2019 at 6:16 AM CDT
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October is Financial Planning Month, and a good time to think about your end of year financial goals. As we start looking ahead to the new year, Financial professional Dale McCarty, President of Retirement Designers Financial shares some tips for a financial check-up.

1. What are some things people can do to start getting a financial plan together?

- First, it is never too late to start planning and saving for your future. Financial planning needs to be taken with a long-term view. This is not just about saving for retirement, but also making sure you can weather the unexpected.

- It is also a good idea to write down your goals. By starting a plan, you can set milestones or goals that you can use to track your progress. - Maybe it's saving your college tuition, travel, or allowing for charity donations in your budget.

- I have several different calculators on our website:

that can be helpful.

Things like credit card debt or college funding, and general savings goal calculators that can help you get an idea of where you're at or how long it might take to reach certain financial goals.

2. With just a few months left in the year, is there anything you might recommend for people to do to help save more?

- First, we would try and find out the cause of why they don't have as much put aside as they would like. It could be from several potential areas: a) Too much credit card debt b) Too much spending on items that we want vs items that we really need. c) No budget plan or idea of when expenses are due. Once we can identify a possible cause, we can put together a strategy to help reach their financial goals.

- Try and make realistic savings goals. Saving is a marathon and not a sprint!

- Once you cut out unnecessary expenses, start increasing your contributions to your retirement plans or savings accounts. If you do not have one set up, open an account with your employer or bank.

3. What are some things people tend to over-look when it comes to financial planning?

- I encourage everyone to get with a financial professional to help get a plan started. They can help figure out what might work for your situation, because everyone is different.

- The closer you are to retirement, the more your focus changes from making money to preserving your money. This is a good time to be thinking about changing the financial tools you use to manage your money.

- Another area that tends to be overlooked is in tax planning – are you being efficient with your money? Changing your approach early on can result in benefits down the road.

- Consider estate planning as part of your overall plan as well.

4. What are some tips as we look forward to the new year?

- Start with looking back at how 2019 was – did you have a budget? Did it work? What expenses do you expect to have in the New Year?

- Do you have a plan in place to prepare for a catastrophic health situation?

- Again, try and check your tax withholding to make sure you're on track.