Time for a Money Check-up

July 1st marked the half-way point of the year. Yes, you read that right: we’re already over halfway thorough 2021. Yikes. Important markers like halfway points are always a good time to do a money check-up. There’s such a focus on January 1 and New Year’s resolutions, but not a ton of support for year-round accountability checks. I’m here to be that accountability buddy for you. I know, I’m such a giver.

Money-related resolutions are consistently one of the most common things people pledge to change at the start of a new year. So I know a lot of y’all out there had intentions. The best news? It’s never too late! Whether you’ve stayed the course, woven on and off like a drunken sailor, or fallen completely off the boat, you can always get after those money goals. Here are the 2 money check-ups I strongly recommend you make time for this month:

Check-up 1: Get it together

You can’t assess where you’re at without first getting honest about where you’re at. Go pull together all your statements (yes, that means opening the envelopes and/or the emails) and see where you stand. Have you decreased spending somewhere/paid off some credit card debts/increased your savings/added more to an investment account? Lay it out there.

Experts say most people should be aiming for a 20% savings rate between retirement savings and other accounts. I’ll be honest: I’m not there. And I bet a lot of you just read that number and went “Oh, shit”. Don’t panic. This is why we’re doing this money check-up. But you can’t fix a problem that you don’t recognize, so you gotta get all that data together.

Check-up 2: Asset Allocation

This step mostly applies to those of you who have retirement accounts, but it works for everyone. I see 401(k) accounts all the time that are invested in “stable value” funds. “Stable Value” absolutely sounds like a thing I would want for my money, but it is just a fancy name for cash. And hoarding cash does not get me to long term goals. Sorry. Please make sure you are not in “stable value”. Or, if you are, make sure you have a very specific and deliberate reason why your money isn’t working for you. In the same vein, if you have more than 6 months of expenses in a savings account, you may want to consider doing something different with it. I can help with that. Everyone’s situation is unique, though, so keep your needs in mind.

For my millennial colleagues, I don’t recommend checking on your investment accounts often. This is especially true for retirement accounts. Even the oldest millennials (you’re turning 40 this year!) have two decades before they should think about using retirement account money. Checking on these accounts twice a year is often enough. Since many of us focus on our money at the end/beginning of the year, the middle of the year is the next logical money check-up.

Simply log-in and see how much your money is doing (hopefully it has grown a lot). Feel good about the progress you’re making. Check that your allocation — aka: the investments you hold — still makes sense. Most millennials can afford to be heavy in equities. If your portfolio isn’t tilted towards equities, and you don’t know why, you might want to change up how you’re invested. But after that, log-out of the account and forget about it for another 6 months.

That’s it! You’re done! As always, if you want guidance working with your money, let’s talk:

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Wisconsin CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional and educator Sarah Paulson


Meet Sarah Paulson, your

Although I’m a born-and-raised Wisconsinite – living in Appleton, Wisconsin –

I consider myself more of a world citizen.

True story: once when going through international customs in Amsterdam, the officers asked why they couldn’t find a Dutch residency permit in my American passport.

I bring a big world picture to my money management advice so you can view the wider world, too.

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