Need to Know: Spring Cleaning Your Finances

money-growth-concept_My4Uq1YuDespite what the thermometer might say, spring really has arrived! April is Financial Literacy Month and this season of growth and renewal is also the perfect time to spruce up your financial future. Here are some tips on how to clean up your finances:

Evaluate your Financial Goals

Before you can move forward, you need to make sure you’re on the right track. Have you looked at your financial goals in the last six months? Are they the same as they were the last time you did? Have any major life changes happened that might shift your goals? It’s important to draw up a roadmap before you proceed any further.

Examine your budget

Your budget will give you a day-to-day framework that will keep you on track to hit your financial goals. Budget planning involves evaluating your expenses against your income; if your income doesn’t cover your spending, it may be time to re-think your budget. Evaluating your budget is only half the job — once you know what your budget should be, you have to stick with it consistently. Budgeting, like working out, should be something you make part of your regular routine. And like fitness, there are plenty of mobile apps that can help you build up your budgeting muscles. Check out the top apps of 2017 here. 

Create a debt payoff plan

Your budget will benefit from paying off debt as quickly and efficiently as possible. Take a look at your accumulated debt and be sure you are making payments on time and that you are aware of high-interest debts or debts with hidden fees.

Be aware of your credit history

Do you know your credit score? Do you know how many inquiries have been made into your credit in the past six months? Both things may affect your ability to secure home or auto loans. It’s vital that you understand your credit score and history, ensure that what’s on your report is accurately reflecting your credit and payment history, and that you take steps to rebuild credit if your score is a hindrance to achieving your financial goals. You can receive a free credit report annually from each of the major agencies, and banks are increasingly offering credit report monitoring as a benefit of having an account.

Review your investments

Your investments play a major role in helping you reach your financial goals. Spring is the perfect time to review your investment portfolio to make sure you are taking the right risks relative to your retirement timeline. It’s important to remember that all investments involve risk, including the loss of principal, so it’s vital to consult with an adviser if you have any questions.

Revisit your tax planning

Tax returns submitted in April can be a great roadmap for tax planning in the spring. Did you get a very large refund? Did you owe money for taxes? Both may signify that you might benefit from changing your withholding level, which you can do by re-submitting a W4 with your employer.

Want a partner as you tackle spring cleaning your finances? The Robin S. Weingast & Associates team is here to help! Contact us today to see how we can help.

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Podcast of the Month: Prepare for the Unknown — How Taxes Affect Retirement

Robin Weingast TaxesUnless you have a crystal ball you just can’t tell what the tax rules, laws, and brackets will be when you retire. So what will happen to that IRA nest egg that hasn’t been taxed yet? How much could you lose? Tune in as Ed Slott, one of the nations most renowned CPAs, explains how taxes can take a toll on your retirement funds, and what you can do about it.


Podcast of the Month: Nest Eggs Beware!

Saving, male hand putting a coin into piggy bank, Robin Weingast

You’ve worked hard, you’ve saved well, and now you have an impressive Nest Egg for retirement. But do you also have a contingency plan in place if you become ill and need extended care? Tune in as Dr. Bob Pokorski explains how easily your Nest Egg could be drained if you don’t have all your bases covered!



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Monthly Podcast: Saving and Spending: Secrets of Centenarians

100-birthday_weingastDid you know that centenarians are the fastest growing segment of the American population? The odds of living a long and vivacious life are increasing all the time, so how do we make the most out of our years? This month on our podcast, author Steve Franklin traveled the country interviewing centenarians, and he shares their wisdom with you!

>>>Click here to listen to this month’s podcast!<<<


A note about the Fiduciary Rule from Robin Weingast

department-of-laborYou may have have seen the recent news about the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary rule. The Robin S. Weingast & Associates team has been closely involved in understanding this rule and we are keeping a close eye on what these changes mean for our clients. For over 30 years, we have made our clients’ benefits and retirement plans our priority, and we look forward to continuing that tradition. The rule goes into effect in April 2017, with full implementation due by January 2018. This will give us all time to work to make sure you understand the rule and feel comfortable about your retirement savings path.

As a fiduciary, I am already held to the highest standards when it comes to keeping fees to a minimum and ensuring that your retirement plan works for you. You can expect the same level of service and attention to your finances as the DOL’s new rule is implemented.

If you have any questions, concerns, or want to know more about this new rule, I invite you to contact me today.

I look forward to hearing from you and to our continued success.

Resource of the Month: Fully Insured Defined Benefits Plans

Weingast_retirementLast month we gave you an in-depth look at Defined Benefit Plans, and this month we’re continuing on that topic with a resource on Fully Insured Defined Benefits Plans. These plans differ from Defined Benefits Plans in that all investments must be all fixed annuity and fixed life insurance products. Perfect for small business owners or for those who may be close to retirement, these plans are also relatively easy to administer and as such, have smaller fees associated with them.

Download our Resource of the Month for more information, and contact the Robin S. Weingast & Associates team if you think this plan might be a good fit for your business.