New Year: Check and (Re)balance

By @ibtimes on

These days, people are a bit cynical about making new year’s resolutions. And who could blame them? Although most adults (68%) admit to having made resolutions, only 17% usually keep them.

Even if you have gotten a bit jaded about making new year’s resolutions, don’t let it stop you from doing what you need to achieve your financial goals. In one recent survey, respondents cited financial obstacles as the number-one limitation standing between them and their dreams.

Maybe the poor success rate enjoyed by resolution makers has something to do with the fact that the most popular resolutions — losing weight and paying off debt — tend to be the most difficult. Here are three simple tasks you can do in the next year that could boost your progress toward your goals and dreams. They’re easy to accomplish, and you don’t have to wait until January 1 to get started.

Check your asset allocation. Over time, the proportion of assets in your portfolio can be expected to shift as they earn differing rates of return. For example, if your bond investments have done better than anything else in your portfolio, you may be at risk of having more bond assets than might be considered suitable for someone with your risk tolerance, time horizon, and long-term goals. Rebalancing your portfolio doesn’t take much effort, and it’s a good way to eliminate unnecessary risk and help ensure that your portfolio is in a good position to take advantage of opportunities.

Check your beneficiaries. Most of the assets in accounts that require you to designate a beneficiary, usually life insurance policies and retirement accounts, will convey directly to your heirs outside the probate process. Courts tend to treat these types of beneficiary designations as sacred, even if the family is able to provide evidence that the outcome would not be what the deceased would have wanted. Birth, divorce, and death are all potential causes of outdated beneficiary designations.

Check your credit report. It’s always been wise counsel to check your credit report, but it may be even more important now. Lenders have tightened lending standards in the wake of the credit crisis; credit is still available at good rates, but mainly to people with high credit scores. Go to annualcreditreport.com to order your credit report online or by mail.

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