A “Get Organized” Checklist for 2016

MP900442488Ok, it may be a big job, but getting organized in your personal finances is important. The start of a New Year is a good time to get organized, clear out old documents you no longer need, and get a fresh start.

Organizing your personal finances is especially critical for Baby Boomers who've recently retired or who need to make the most of what remains of their working years. There's no time like the present to tune up your strategy (or make that appointment with the dentist!).

The article, "9 ways for older Mainers to get a grip on finances in 2016," from the Bangor Daily News has some great tips for starting the New Year right:

Get ready for tax time. Set up a computer folder to collect tax-related papers as they arrive. If you don't, April 15th will roll around and you'll be wondering where you put those tax documents! Make a checklist of the documents you're expecting and file as soon as possible after you have them all. Also, think about changing your withholding amounts to be closer to the taxes you expect to owe for the coming year.

Update your estate plan. Review your estate documents, including your will, your medical and financial powers of attorney and your advance directive for end-of-life care (living will). If you don't have any of these documents, talk with an experienced estate planning attorney. For your sake and the sake of your heirs, don't put it off.

Fine tune your investments. Review your investments to make certain they're in sync with your retirement goals and life changes. This includes cash-on-hand needs and risk tolerance. Does your portfolio need rebalancing, or do under-performing assets need to be swapped out?

Review your financial condition. Examine your overall financial situation by tallying your assets and liabilities, as well as your expected income and expenses for 2016 to help you decide if you need to use any of your savings or investments to pay monthly bills.

Be wary of investment scams. Always research any unsolicited proposals or work with an attorney to do thorough due diligence on anyone who approaches you with a "sure thing."

Review beneficiary designations. This is for your retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and other assets to make sure they are in line with your estate planning.

Review insurance policies. Check your life, health, long-term care, home and automobile policies for appropriate coverage and any needed changes.

Reference: Bangor Daily News (January 2, 2016) "9 ways for older Mainers to get a grip on finances in 2016"

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