With the first three months of 2022 behind us, it’s a good time to take stock of your financial plan. In this follow-up article, we focus on things that can help you stick to a well-constructed financial plan in the next quarter.
BE ON ALERT FOR IDENTIFICATION THEFT
Friday was April Fool’s Day – and a good time to make sure no one messed around with your credit card or bank accounts. More than 98.2 million people were affected by the 10 largest data breaches in the first half of 2021, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) and the US Department of Health and Human Services. And while most victims say they lost less than $500, 21% say they lost more than $20,000 to identity criminals, according to the ITRC.
With the increase in breaches and identity thefts, some people have turned to credit monitoring services for protection. These services automatically notify you of errors or inconsistencies in your credit reports so that you can proactively address potential misuse of your personal information. The three major credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion – should provide you with free access to your credit report once a year to help you report errors or attacks on your credit. It is important to remain alert to the warning signs of identity theft that may be lurking in these reports. Tell-tale signs of potential identity theft include: reported payments you didn’t make, credit accounts you don’t recognize, misspellings in your name and address, and justice that you are unaware of (suggesting that someone can pretend to be you in a legal proceeding).
DECLARATIONS DAY AND TAX FREEDOM DAY ARE APPROACHING
This year, your 2021 federal tax return is due April 18 (state returns vary: Minnesotans have until April 18). Make sure you’ve maxed out your traditional or Roth IRA contributions for 2021. Don’t forget, once the dust has settled, to take your completed tax return to your financial advisor to review your tax strategy for 2022. Pay special attention to the declared taxable income of 1099-INT and 1099-DIV. Now is a good time to consider whether your investments — especially those from passive investments held outside of qualified plans, such as ETFs — are truly tax-efficient.
April 18 is also Tax Freedom Day this year. Tax Freedom Day represents the length of time Americans must work to pay the country’s tax burden. This is also an opportunity to see how well your tax-deferred 401(k) and/or tax-advantaged Roth IRA are helping you progress toward your retirement goals.
CARING FOR OLDER PARENTS
Mother’s Day is May 8 and Father’s Day is June 19. If you have aging parents, you’re probably thinking about their financial and emotional well-being. Take the time these days to reflect on the state of your parents’ finances, their health care needs, their living arrangements and their estate plan. Maybe it’s time to have that difficult but necessary discussion about the next chapter in their lives.
Know that if you are caring for seniors, you are not alone: the elderly population is already large and will continue to grow considerably in the future, undoubtedly putting a boomer stamp on all aspects of life. . Several statistics confirm this: although they represent 16% of the total population of the United States, more than two-fifths (41%) of the “baby-boom” generation in the United States are now 65 years of age or older. Among people aged 65 and over, 61% lived with their spouse/partner in 2020, and about 27% lived alone. By 2040, there will be about 81 million older adults living in the United States, more than double the number in 2000, according to the Administration for Community Living’s 2020 Profile of Older Americans.
MIDTERM POINT IS JUST THREE MONTHS AWAY
We will be halfway through the year on June 30. Now is a great time to check in on your progress since you set your annual goals in January. Expenses higher than you expected? Track your spending for the next three months to see where it’s all going. Making progress with this fitness regimen? Remember that small changes in your behavior can yield impressive results over time. The important thing is to do your best to stay on target, but don’t punish yourself if you take a small misstep.
The opinions expressed herein are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations to any individual.
Bruce Helmer and Peg Webb are financial advisors at Wealth Enhancement Group and co-hosts of “Your Money” on KLKS 100.1 FM on Sunday mornings. Email Bruce and Peg at [email protected] Securities offered by LPL Financial, member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered by Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services, LLC, a registered investment adviser. Wealth Enhancement Group and Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services are separate entities from LPL Financial.