Getting Your Financial House in Order
Previous

Don't wait until the start of a new year to take stock of your financial goals and objectives.

There's no time like the present: Explore how your savings and investments can help you get where you want to be in the future, today.

Getting Organized

Gather all your financial records, organize them, and consider the following: What is your gross monthly income? What are your monthly expenses? What are your goals and objectives in regard to your savings? Once you have established this, you'll know more about what you're able to accomplish financially. For many, this is the point where a financial advisor* enters the picture to help ensure you make the most of your savings and investments as you start saving money.

Financial Planning

If you don't know where to start - or if you want to know how to make your savings work harder - a financial advisor is an integral part of the process.

Some financial advisors analyze their client's situation and create a savings plan. Others make product recommendations and select the stocks and other investment vehicles best suited to the client's needs. Still others provide both services.

Regardless, any financial planning will begin with an analysis of your individual situation, your financial concerns, and your short- and long-term goals. After making your savings plan, sit down with a financial advisor, who can help you build your portfolio and determine the allocation of savings between stocks, cash and other funds.

Rules of Thumb

Whether in a laddered CD portfolio or money-market fund, during your working years you also need three to six months of living expenses in liquid assets for emergencies. Be sure to take advantage of your employer's 401(k) match.

Just a few years ago, the personal savings rate made up less than two percent of American's disposable income. In the current economic climate, it's now closer to six percent. Conventional wisdom says to save 10 percent of your income. Depending on your investment goals, that percentage may vary.

Save for the Future

Now you're ready to start plowing any additional savings into a regular investment plan. With your financial advisor, look at all your investments in one big pie, including savings, cash, stocks and IRAs. Then divide the pie into three categories: stocks, bonds and cash.

How your financial advisor allocates those three categories will depend on your goals, your time horizon (Are you retiring in 10 or 30 years? Are you saving to buy a lake house in five or 10 years?), and your tolerance for risk. Based on your answers, your advisor will find the right combination to build out your investment portfolio.

Reviewing and Monitoring

At regular intervals, you and your financial advisor should review your goals, considering any life or market changes that might require adjustments to your portfolio or justify a new analysis. As you measure the progress of your savings and investments, you'll look forward to another new year secure in the knowledge that your money is performing to its best ability.

Next

On a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being 'Not Good' and 5 being 'Excellent', how would you rate this article?

Press enter to submit your rating

Rate this Article

Use this form to provide additional feedback based on the rating you provided.

Thanks for Rating

Would you like to provide feedback?

Thanks for your feedback!

This information is general in nature and is not intended to be legal, tax, or financial advice. Although Regions believes this information to be accurate, it cannot ensure that it will remain up to date. Statements or opinions of individuals referenced herein are their own—not Regions'. Consult an appropriate professional concerning your specific situation and irs.gov for current tax rules. Regions, the Regions logo, and the LifeGreen bike are registered trademarks of Regions Bank. The LifeGreen color is a trademark of Regions Bank.