10 Steps to Assess Your Financial Health and Mid-Year Progress
During the quieter summer months, it's a perfect time to pause and conduct a comprehensive mid-year financial check-up. Evaluating your financial health and progress at this juncture enables you to make any necessary adjustments, ensure you're on track to achieve your goals, and reinforce your financial stability for the rest of the year and beyond. Here are the key financial points you should consider during this midyear financial review:
- Review Your Budget: Begin by revisiting your budget to see how well you've adhered to it during the first six months of the year. Analyze your income, expenses, and savings. Identify areas where you overspent and areas where you managed to save more than anticipated. Use this information to adjust your budget for the remainder of the year, ensuring it aligns with your current financial situation and saving objectives.
- Assess Your Debts: Examine your outstanding debts, such as credit cards, loans, and mortgages. Calculate your total debt balance and evaluate your progress in reducing it. Make sure you're making timely payments and consider getting help from a certified credit counselor if your debts are becoming more difficult to pay. Reducing your debt burden is crucial for your long-term financial security.
- Check Your Credit Score: Your credit score plays a significant role in your financial life. Obtain a copy of your credit report and check for any errors or discrepancies. A good credit score can open opportunities for better interest rates and favorable financial terms. If your score needs improvement, take steps to build better credit habits. Learn more here.
- Savings and Emergency Fund: Evaluate the growth of your savings accounts and emergency fund. A solid emergency fund should cover at least three to six months' worth of living expenses. If you haven't reached this target yet, make it a priority to build up your emergency fund to protect yourself from unexpected financial setbacks.
- Investment Review: Assess the performance of your investments, including retirement accounts, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other assets. Consider if your investment strategy aligns with your risk tolerance and financial goals. Speak with a financial advisor to ensure your portfolio remains diversified and suitable for your long-term objectives.
- Retirement Planning: Take time to review your retirement plans and contributions. Are you maximizing your employer's 401(k) match? Can you afford to increase your retirement contributions? Consider consulting a financial advisor to fine-tune your retirement strategy and estimate your retirement income needs.
- Insurance Coverage: Review your insurance policies, including health, life, home, auto, and any other relevant coverage. Ensure your coverage is adequate for your current situation and that your beneficiaries are up to date. Life changes like marriage, children, or significant asset acquisitions may warrant adjustments to your insurance plans.
- Financial Goals Progress: Revisit the financial goals you set at the beginning of the year. Assess your progress towards achieving them. Celebrate your successes and reassess any goals that seem unattainable. Be realistic and adjust your goals as needed to stay motivated and focused. Learn more about setting a SMART goal to increase your chance of successfully achieving your goals.
- Estate Planning: While not the most enjoyable topic, estate planning is essential for securing your family's future. Review your will, trusts, and other estate planning documents. Ensure they reflect your current wishes and circumstances.
- Professional Advice: Consider seeking advice from a financial advisor or planner. An expert can provide personalized guidance based on your specific situation, help you optimize your financial decisions, and keep you accountable to your financial goals.
A mid-year financial check-up is a useful exercise to gauge your financial health, identify areas for improvement, and ensure you're on track to meet your long-term objectives. Take the time to review your budget, debt, savings, investments, retirement plans, insurance coverage, and estate planning. With careful assessment and adjustments, you can make the second half of the year more financially successful and secure.
Lori Stratford is the Digital Media Manager at Navicore Solutions. She promotes the reach of Navicore's financial education to the public through social media and blog content.