2022 was a brutal year for investors. 2023 is sure to be challenging, but there are some action steps you can take now, to set yourself up for success no matter how the market behaves. In this video, we walk through these 5 Resolutions:
2. Pay Down Debt, Lower Expenses
3. Keep Saving for Retirement
4. Update Your Estate Plan/Beneficiaries
5. Tax Planning
Erin: Ryan, good to see you. Today, we're talking about proactive planning and five key resolutions. 2022 was just such a tough year for investors, and of course, 2023 is sure to be challenging, but there are steps that we can take today to set ourselves up for success. So let's talk through a few of those resolutions. And Ryan, first on your list is rebalance. Why?
Ryan: Yeah. This is something you definitely want to make sure that you're doing periodically over time. The best analogy I like to give here too is like if you're driving a car, you're driving down the street, you take your hands off the wheel, not something I necessarily recommend. But if you do that and the car starts veering off to one side, the car's out of alignment, you got to take it to the shop, you got to get a tune up. It's the same thing with your portfolio.
If you wanted, let's say a 50-50 mix between stocks and bonds, and if all of a sudden your stocks are performing better than your bonds, and now you have a 60-40 allocation, well, you've got to rebalance that. And you've got to make sure that that is in line with your risk tolerance, with your goals, and with your objectives. So it's something that needs to be monitored and taken care of over time.
Erin: Right. Number two on your list was actually first on my New Year's financial resolutions, pay down debt and lower expenses. Always sound advice.
Ryan: Definitely. And it's really important, I would say this year, because over the course of the last year or so, we've experienced interest rates climbing considerably with the fundraising rates and such. Interest rates on credit cards, on various loans, home loans, personal loans, car loans, everything's going up.
And if you have credit card debt and you're paying, let's say 18% interest on, you got to pay that down. But if you at all can, in other words, don't take that money and invest that because I can't guarantee you an 18% rate of return for sure, but you can pay off that 18% credit card, and get that taken care of.
Erin: Right. That definitely should be a priority. Number three, always good advice. Again, keep saving for retirement.
Ryan: Yeah, definitely always. And I always recommend to people that are still in their working years, save at least 10 to 15% of your income. The more the better, obviously. And the nice thing is this year as a result of inflation, the amount that you can contribute to your retirement accounts has increased.
Some of the more common types of retirement accounts or the 401ks and 403(b), you can now contribute an additional $2,000. And for IRA accounts, they've now increased that by another $500. So by all means, if you can take advantage of that, definitely do.
Erin: Mm-hmm. It's always nice when there's a silver lining with inflation, Ryan. And next on your list list is update your estate plan and your beneficiaries. Again, this is something that's very easy to do and really important, but often overlooked.
Ryan: It definitely is, and I think one of the main reasons is it's something that we don't want to think about. But you have to make sure that at least every year or two you're looking at your overall estate plan, making sure that everything is set up the way that you want it. Even things just as simple as making sure that your beneficiaries are who you want them to be.
Too often I see situations where we've got an ex-spouse listed on an on IRA as the beneficiary or on a life insurance policy, and I've seen situations where the wrong person got paid. I mean, it was the person listed on the account, but it wasn't the person that they would've wanted that money to go to. And other things need to be updated as well over time or at least reviewed. And those are things like your trust if you have one, if you have a home if that's in the trust, if that's your intention, or if you move and making sure that that's updated.
Also, your healthcare powers, your financial powers, all these things need to be updated over time to make sure that it's in line with your wishes.
Erin: Right, your priorities, it's about taking care of your family. That's how I like to look at it when it comes down to it, right?
Ryan: For sure.
Erin: Number five on your list, proactive tax planning. What does that mean?
Ryan: And this is something that you want to make sure that you're doing periodically over time for sure. There's a big difference too, and I should point this out between tax filing and tax planning. Tax filing is we're looking in the rear-view mirror. We get our documents usually in the early part of the year, late January, early February, and we've got to take those documents, and we've got to file our taxes for last year so that's rear-view looking.
Tax planning is, okay, what steps can I take over the course of the next several years over the course of my retirement, perhaps to make sure that I'm doing everything that I can to minimize the taxes that I have to pay over time? Whether that's looking at whether it makes sense to do any Roth conversions, anything else you need to make sure that you're looking at that certainly on an annual basis.
Erin: Mm-hmm. Ryan, thank you. It's so nice to have this kind of checklist almost when we talk about these resolutions and I also like it as far as accountability goes. So if somebody would like to talk these things through with you, because some of them, again, are a little bit more advanced than others, what's the best way to reach you?
Ryan: A couple options. One, you can just call 714-462-9155. Also, you can go to the website, cravitzfinancial.com, go to the contact page there, send a message, or you could just send me an email at email@example.com.
Erin: All right. Ryan, thank you.
Ryan: Thank you.