9 Jul 2017
We are all doing our best to become or remain physically fit by eating well, exercising and staying active. Let’s take that to the next step and consider our financial fitness. Spring is the perfect time for a re-boot and to assess how we’re doing. Consider the following ten tips:
1) Create a budget. It may sound obvious, but sticking to a reasonable budget based on your fixed expenses, with allowances built in for pleasure, will keep you in line and not living beyond your means. And remember, you can’t save if you don’t know what you’re spending.
2) If you are working, participate in a work-sponsored retirement plan and use the over-50 “catch up” allowance if applicable. These investment plans can significantly add to your savings.
3) Monitor your debt and pay down high interest credit cards.
4) Review subscriptions such as your phone and cable bills. You may find that you don’t need the services you once signed up for or that carriers are now offering better plans. Do the same with your home, car and life insurance coverage. These policies can become outdated, and it is worth shopping around for policies that meet your current needs.
5) Pre-commit. Set up automatic withdrawals from a paycheck or bank account to fund a savings or investment account.
6) Downsize. You may no longer need the large home or acreage you once enjoyed. Consider a smaller living space and possible relocation to an area with lower taxes and cost-of-living.
7) Let retirement plans continue to grow tax-free as long as possible. Do not access funds until you are required to do so, and hopefully when you are in a lower tax bracket.
8) Eat out one or two fewer times each month. If you’re cooking for one and you find yourself throwing away food, try signing up for a meal delivery plan to satisfy all your food shopping needs. Look for other ways to save (including #10 below).
9) Utilize preventive healthcare measures such as regular check-ups and other annual exams. Work with your doctor to learn how to best care for yourself and keep healthcare costs down Check your medical bills carefully; billing mistakes are often made and you don’t want to pay for someone else’s errors. Also advocate for yourself when a large medical or hospital bill comes in. Negotiate.
10) Lastly, pack your lunch and say good-bye to the designer coffees! This old-time tip still works for saving on unnecessary weekly expenses.
Amy Weiser is a Financial Advisor with Morgan Stanley Global Wealth Management in Stamford. The information contained in this article is not a solicitation to purchase or sell investments. Any information presented is general in nature and not intended to provide individually tailored investment advice. Morgan Stanley and its Financial Advisors do not provide tax or legal advice. Individuals should seek advice based on their particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor. The strategies and/or investments referenced may not be suitable for all investors as the appropriateness of a particular investment or strategy will depend on an investor’s individual circumstances and objectives. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, LLC, member SIPC.
Amy Weiser is a Financial Advisor with Morgan Stanley Global Wealth Management in Stamford, CT. The information contained in this article is not a solicitation to purchase or sell investments. Any information presented is general in nature and not intended to provide individually tailored investment advice. The strategies and/or investments referenced may not be suitable for all investors as the appropriateness of a particular investment or strategy will depend on an investor’s individual circumstances and objectives. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC (“Morgan Stanley”), its affiliates and Morgan Stanley Financial Advisors or Private Wealth Advisors do not provide tax or legal advice.Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, LLC, member SIPC.