Grapevine, Texas (PRWEB) January 01, 2012
Paul R. Streiber, M.B.A., CFP®, financial planner and wealth manager, with Heritage Financial Planning (http://www.HeritageFinancialPlanning.com) in Dallas, Texas, works with people who start the year with resolutions about their financial planning and goals to get their personal finances in shape.
But as the year progresses, there’s a tendency for people’s attention to be drawn to other more immediate concerns and for longer term financial resolutions to take a backseat to everyday living. So, as we move into a New Year, Paul R. Streiber offers some financial planning tips for 2012.
Tip 1: Gather and Organize Receipts. With the situation in Washington leading to uncertainty surrounding tax rates, you’ll want to be as prepared as possible for tax time. You’ll make it easier on yourself and your tax preparer if you organize receipts and other potential tax documents now and maintain this organization for the remainder of the year, as opposed to trying to gather everything later this year during the holidays or trying to recreate everything next April.
Tip 2: Check Investment Portfolio for rebalancing. It’s best to be keeping an eye on this throughout the year, but the returns of some asset classes have outpaced the performance of other asset classes in the first half of the year. The result may be that a portfolio constructed with a target of 60% equity securities and 40% fixed income securities has migrated to a 70% equity – 30% fixed income portfolio, for example. Streiber suggests making time to calculate where the equity-to-fixed income ratio of your portfolio stands currently and if any adjustments need to be made to align your portfolio with personal financial goals and objectives.
Tip 3: Check Retirement Plan Contributions. The 2012 limit for elective contributions to your 401(k) is $17,000, up $500 from 2011, if you’re younger than age 50, and you may make additional “catch up” contributions of up to $5,500 if you’re over age 50. These limits are different for Simple IRA 401(k)s and, according to the Internal Revenue Service, “generally, all elective deferrals that you make to all plans in which you participate must be considered to determine if the dollar limits are exceeded” (http://www.irs.gov). Streiber says consider increasing your contributions to contribute the maximum, or as much as possible for your circumstances, because your retired self will thank your present day self and commend you on your foresight and wisdom.
Tip 4: Review Your Property and Casualty Insurance. Do this with your insurance agent or insurance company – they should earn the commission they receive when you make a premium payment. Some of those expensive present you may have found under the tree this holiday season may need a separate insurance policy or at least need to be listed separately on your homeowner’s policy. Double check your auto insurance liability limits to make certain that they are appropriate. If you have a net worth of $1,000,000, for example, verify you have the maximum auto liability limits, and even then you’ll likely have a limit of liability coverage on your auto policy that falls short of your net worth. In this case, discuss with your agent adding a personal umbrella liability policy to increase your liability insurance limits to cover your full net worth.
Tip 5: Diversify. Diversify. Diversify. Even with the lessons of the last few years and the constant reminders of how risky a single security can be (see American Airlines, Bear Stearns, Lehman Bros., etc.), a tremendous number of investors still allocate an unhealthy amount of their valuable cash into a single stock – typically the stock of their employer. With 401(k)s, ESOPs and the like permitting investment or requiring matching contributions in company stock, there are a multitude of opportunities to tie too many dollars to a single company, including compensation, bonus, variable compensation (options and restricted stock units) and benefits. This reliance on a single company for so much of your assets subjects you to serious concentration risk. Diversify. Diversify. Diversify.
Tip 6: Have Your Estate Documents Reviewed. Please! The estate tax laws have been revised over the past several years. Existing estate documents should be reviewed and revised as needed and many who read this don’t even have a will in place, let alone other vital estate planning documents. Now is that time to get this done. Documents that should be in place for most everyone include: Last Will and Testament, Durable Power of Attorney, Medical Power of Attorney, Directive to Physicians and a HIPAA Release. There may be other documents needed based on your individual situation so consult a professional, but do it soon. Please!
Tip 7: Develop A Spending Plan. Easily one of the most important actions for personal financial success is to develop and implement a spending plan or budget. Even for those that have high incomes, proactively planning your expenditures will mean having a lot more to show for your hard work than those who spend without discipline. Having a plan for the next six months, especially to help through the holidays, will prove to be a valuable tool in achieving personal financial success.
Paul R. Streiber, M.B.A., CFP®, is a financial planner and wealth manager with Heritage Financial Planning, serving a select group of clients who require objective, fee-only comprehensive financial planning and wealth management, including retirement planning, investment management, estate planning, education planning and risk management. Streiber’s professional experience includes many years in various aspects of financial services, including personal finance, banking, and corporate finance. Prior to passing the 10-hour, two-day long CFP® certification examination, Streiber earned a Certificate in Financial Planning from the University of North Texas, a M.B.A. in Finance from the Simon Graduate School of Business at the University of Rochester and a B.A. in Economics from Drew University.
About Heritage Financial Planning
Heritage Financial Planning is a fee-only comprehensive financial planning and wealth management firm known for putting its clients first and helping them understand their current financial positions and the steps necessary to meet their goals and objectives. Heritage Financial Planning serves a select group of clients who require objective, fee-only comprehensive financial planning and wealth management, including retirement planning, investment management, estate planning, education planning and risk management. Heritage Financial Planning was founded in 2004 by Steve Blankenship, CFP®, a nationally recognized financial planner, who has helped high net worth individuals in the DFW Metroplex and across the U.S. achieve personal financial goals and objectives for more than 15 years. Heritage Financial Planning is online at http://www.HeritageFinancialPlanning.com.
The registered and trade marks in the press release identify those individuals who have met the rigorous experience and ethical requirements of the CFP Board, have successfully completed financial planning coursework and have passed the CFP® Certification Examination covering the following areas: the financial planning process, risk management, investments, tax planning and management, retirement and employee benefits, and estate planning. CFP® certificants also agree to meet ongoing continuing education requirements and to uphold CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility, Rules of Conduct and Financial Planning Practice Standards.
CFP Board is a nonprofit certification organization with a mission to benefit the public by granting the CFP® certification and upholding it as the recognized standard of excellence for personal financial planning. CFP Board owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and federally registered CFP (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete initial and ongoing certification requirements. CFP Board currently authorizes more than 61,000 individuals to use these marks in the United States. For more about CFP Board, visit http://www.CFP.net.