By Antonio Porretta
It seems like it was just yesterday that we had high hopes for 2021 and the fresh start it would bring. Time flew by and now we’re already planning for 2022! A new year can be overwhelming to think about, especially after the intensity of the last two years and the pandemic, economic shutdown, and slow road back to “normal.” But the good news is that there are actionable steps you can implement to take back control of your finances and truly make 2022 a fresh start. Here are four ways you can get started today.
1. Set Financial Goals
The first way to jump-start your financial plan is to set financial goals. Do you have a goal for your finances or are you just crossing your fingers and hoping you have enough for the lifestyle you want?
Specific goals with defined timelines will help to determine the best course of action, including how much risk you can and should take with your money. For instance, if you’re looking for a guaranteed source of income, then you will probably want to stick with investments that will provide long-term security, such as annuities. Conversely, if you are looking for substantial opportunity, then you might want to take on more risk and invest less conservatively. Every dollar in your portfolio should be working toward a specific goal.
Remember that the best goals will be SMART:
- Specific: The more you can identify exactly what you’re saving for, the easier it will be to work toward it.
- Measurable: As much as possible, try to identify how much your financial goal will cost. Do the research to figure out what you need to save so that you’re able to see tangible progress along the way.
- Attainable: Make sure your goal is realistic and achievable. This might require some self-reflection or reevaluation of your priorities.
- Relevant: Ask yourself which goals align with your core values. Remember that your finite assets will be split amongst your seemingly infinite list of wants. The more you can scale back your list to what is truly relevant, the more achievable each goal will be.
- Timely: Identify the timeline for each goal so that you can prioritize which ones need to be addressed first and how much risk you can afford to take.
2. Build Up Your Savings
If there’s one thing the last two years have taught us, it’s that it’s crucial to prepare for the unpredictable. Whether it be a pandemic, a lost job, or rising rates of inflation, sufficient savings can mean the difference between staying afloat during uncertain times and not having enough when you need it most.
If you’re not saving already, take steps to start putting a portion of your income away every month. Usually 10-15% of pre-tax income is a good guideline. Ideally, it is recommended that most people should have at least 3-6 months’ worth of non-discretionary expenses saved in a highly liquid, easily accessible emergency fund before saving toward other goals. Either way, consistent savings are the cornerstone of any solid financial plan.
3. Reevaluate the Risk in Your Portfolio
As mentioned in Step 1, risk is fundamental to investing. Even “investing” by hiding cash under your mattress involves risk, since there’s always the chance of a break-in or increased inflation eating away at its value. To jump-start your financial plan in 2022, be sure to reevaluate the amount of risk you are taking in your overall portfolio.
It’s not uncommon for a portfolio to become unbalanced as the market ebbs and flows. What may have started out as a 60/40 allocation between stocks and bonds can easily become a 70/30 or 80/20 allocation, which is a significant difference in risk level. You may also find that you are too heavily concentrated in one type of asset or in one company’s stock. If this is the case for you, rebalancing and diversification should be explored.
Though risk is fundamental to investing, it’s also crucial that you aren’t overexposed to unnecessary risks. Take steps to evaluate your risk tolerance, based on your unique financial circumstances, stage of life, and personality, and be sure your investments align.
4. Partner With a Financial Professional
Regardless of where you are in the planning process or what goals you have set for your financial life, we are here to support you, guide you, and navigate any financial challenges you may face. Partnering with a financial professional is a great way to take control of your finances and get a jump-start on the future.
At Blackbridge Financial, we have the tools and expertise to help you set financial goals, build up your emergency fund, and reevaluate your risk level. Our mission is to help you develop a holistic plan designed to connect you with your future. If you’re ready to start planning for the new year, email me at email@example.com or call 704.960.9646 today.
Antonio Porretta is an independent wealth manager at Blackbridge Financial with over 20 years of experience. He specializes in helping people create, distribute, and preserve their wealth. Antonio received an executive MBA from Saunders College of Business at Rochester Institute of Technology in 2007 and also holds the Accredited Asset Management Specialist℠, AAMS® designation. Originally from Rochester, NY, Antonio has been a resident of Harrisburg, NC, since 2007. Outside of work, he enjoys playing soccer and tennis, coaching, and spending time with his wife, Laura, and their children, Cristiano, Victoria, and Matteo. To learn more about Antonio and how he can make a difference in your financial life, visit www.blackbridgefinancial.com.
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Securities offered through LPL Financial. Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through Independent Advisor Alliance, a registered investment advisor. Independent Advisor Alliance and Blackbridge Financial are separate entities from LPL Financial.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
Rebalancing a portfolio may cause investors to incur tax liabilities and/or transaction costs. There is no guarantee that a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. No strategy assures success or protects against loss.
Annuities are long-term investment vehicles designed for retirement purposes. Gains from tax-deferred investments are taxable as ordinary income upon withdrawal. Guarantees are based on the claims paying ability of the issuing company. Withdrawals made prior to age 59 ½ are subject to a 10% IRS penalty tax and surrender charges may apply.