Now that you’ve settled into a fall schedule, your holiday to-do lists may have already begun filling up. It’s never too early to start planning for the future — short term and beyond. Before the end-of-year festivities steal your focus, get your finances in a good place using these 5 tips.
Tend to your overall wellness with a solid financial plan
This can be a busy time, and it's easy to get overwhelmed. As you take on all that’s coming your way, make sure to keep your wellness in focus.
Having a solid financial plan for reaching your goals can actually help improve your overall wellness. There are different strategies for financial planning you can use depending on your situation and whether you’re solo or financial planning for a family.
Think creatively about income and work
If feelings of fatigue and burnout have you looking for a change at work, maybe it’s time to make dreams of starting your own business a reality. Starting a small business isn’t easy, but it can be incredibly rewarding. You’ll want to tend to your small business’s financial wellness early on, because like a personal financial plan, a solid small business financial plan can set you up for success.
If you’re not looking to make a big change, there are other ways to boost your income. Research salaries in your area and determine if you’re being paid what you’re worth. If you think you should be earning more, read up on how to ask for a raise or understand what you’ll need to do to earn that next promotion. You may even be able to negotiate benefits when getting promoted.
Explore options for funding college
If you have a student going off to college this spring, you can apply for federal student aid starting Oct. 1. Understanding how student loans work and getting a sense for the average cost of college can be helpful in determining how much aid you’ll want to take.
If college is a bit further down the road for your family, you may want to check in on your college savings plan. There are different options to consider depending on how much time you have left to save. Don’t worry if college is approaching quickly, and you’re feeling behind on savings. There are other ways to help cover college costs.
If you’re in the midst of paying for college and unsure what to do now that there's student loan debt relief, the good news is: There isn’t much to do at this moment. The Department of Education said an online application will be available by the end of the year.
Evolve your retirement savings
You may have a retirement savings plan in place, but periodic check-ins can ensure your savings plan is on track to meet your retirement goals. As the market changes, you may also consider revamping parts of your strategy—like when to take social security.
Determining how much you need for retirement is a good first step, as is developing an understanding of the different types of retirement accounts. Don’t fret if you’re feeling behind; there are things you can do to catch up on retirement savings.
Build an estate plan
Celebrate National Estate Planning Awareness week—October 17 to 23—by thinking about the future and what will happen to your assets. If you’re unsure of how to determine whether you need an estate plan or how to put together a plan, start by reading up on some basics of estate planning. Your family and financial situation will likely dictate whether you should have a will or trust (or both). If you already have an estate plan in place, review it periodically to make sure it accurately reflects your wishes.