Napolitano looks at money, says 'Get off your butt.'
This month begins the second half of 2020. Time flies and the second half often passes faster than the first. Even with COVID-19, it’s often beaches, barbeques and relaxation that dominate the summer months, and that’s a good thing, we sure need it.
But just like you don’t stop your workouts, or other routines, don’t quit paying attention to your personal finances. Focus on the things that you can control. Too many people micro manage their investments, and rate their overall financial success in accordance with their portfolio returns. And while superior management and results may be attainable by some managers some of the time, no one always gets winning years with their portfolios. Past performance is not indicative of future results.
But the things within your control should be on your mind as we go into our half time break for 2020. You can control the results of your income and expenses for the first half of the year. As most of us had reduced spending for the past few months, consider upping the spending in your forecast to reflect a return to normal (eventually). Did you retire debt and add to the 401K as planned? Did the college fund get its fair share of your wallet? Do you understand your expenses and income for the first half well enough to make adjustments in the second half?
Beyond your day to day cash management, how about income tax planning? Most returns have been filed for 2019, and whether you did or did not file yet, you now should begin thinking about 2020. Now is the time to influence your tax situation for this year, and that would start with a forecast to see how your taxes were affected by 2018’s Tax Act. Specifically for business owners and families with net worth over $11 million, there are great planning strategies that you can utilize.
You also control planning for your disability or demise. Pardon my bluntness, but these sad realities will happen to all of us. What can be prevented, however, are the financial calamities that arise when either your incapacity or passing occurs. Did you update your estate documents, or are you still procrastinating until you find a great planner and attorney? Did you review the cracks or where you may be exposed to risk? It could be the joint ownership of property, the beneficiaries of your insurance and retirement benefits or simply poor coordination between all of your advisors and insurance contracts.
Risk if often disregarded until it is too late. A good advisor will always raise these uncomfortable topics. Kiss them if they’ve pushed you to get it done. Find a new one if they don’t even talk to you about this stuff. Or, get off your butt to find one and stop hiding behind these real life realities as if nothing will ever hit the fan.
The last part of the equation that you control is you! You control your time, all 168 hours per week. Even though 40 or more may be committed to work, that still leaves 128 hours per week to your discretion. Take a look at everything that you’re doing (or not doing) and get help for your open items so you can focus on how you’d really like to spend these 128 hours, and enjoy the second half of 2020.