Contributor: Kristen Fricks-Roman
Company: Morgan Stanley Wealth Management
Title: Financial Advisor
As yellow pollen begins to blanket our cars and window sills, we’re reminded that spring has sprung. No doubt it’s time for a big clean up throughout the house, but why stop there? Make sure to tidy up your financial house as well.
As a financial advisor, I often remind clients that their personal wealth needs to be reviewed yearly. Here are some ways to “spring clean” and organize your finances with a retirement goal in mind.
Dust off your investment portfolio. Review your current portfolio with your trusted financial advisor to make sure it has been updated to reflect current market conditions. Over time, your risk tolerance can and will change; and life changes such as job status or lifestyle can have an impact on your retirement. Make sure to discuss what’s best for your future.
Polish your budget. The practice of creating and maintaining a budget is key for individuals or families to get clarity on how much money comes in and how much goes out. Changes will need to be made if there is a negative balance – or even if you are breaking even – at the end of every month. The goal is to have a sizeable amount allotted to your retirement savings each month. Putting together a solid plan and getting started can be difficult, but don’t fret. Once you have a budget, it will help make investing a priority just like paying the mortgage or electric bill.
Organize your documents. I recommend putting all important documents (such as your financial plan as well as key legal, insurance, and financial documents) into one big organized binder. Nowadays, there are a variety of free resources online to help you get started such as Morgan Stanley’s Family Records Organizer. Remember to keep this organizer in an easily accessible and safe location. If your financial information is kept online, I recommend being particularly cautious of your account’s security and privacy settings.
Sweep out lingering debt while increasing contributions. Establish a plan to gradually eliminate any debt you may have. At the same time and if you have the means, consider increasing your monthly 401(k) Plan (or IRA, etc.) payment to help you reach your retirement goal earlier.
Spring time offers all kinds of exciting images like beautiful sunny weather, blooming flowers and outdoor fun. Enjoy this season and don’t be afraid to take on what seems to be big tasks head on. Most likely you’ll be thankful for being on top of making things around you more clean and beautiful.
Kristen Fricks-Roman CFP®, CRPS®, is a financial advisor and senior vice president at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, Atlanta. She can be reached at email@example.com.
The information contained in this article is not a solicitation to purchase or sell investments. Any information presented is general in nature and not intended to provide individually tailored investment advice. The strategies and/or investments referenced may not be suitable for all investors as the appropriateness of a particular investment or strategy will depend on an investor’s individual circumstances and objectives. The views expressed herein are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect the views of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, or its affiliates. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, LLC, member SIPC.