10 Point Financial Planning Checklist for 2016
By Wouter Fourie
CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER®, Professional Accountant (SA)
Director of Ascor® Independent Wealth Managers
A Financial checklist is an excellent tool to check on how you are progressing towards your goals and to also help identify any specific areas you might need to focus on in the immediate future. 10 Key points to consider for 2016;
1. Budget and track your spending
Whether you use a software program, like Microsoft Excel or a pen and paper, you need to know where your money is going in 2016.
Break down your expenses into categories – like Home, Daily Living, Transportation and identify where you can scale back.
For a free budget template visit our Website www.ascor.co.za – click on budget in the left bottom corner of the Home page, click on budget template to download budget-template.zip
2. Check your credit report
Get a free copy of your credit report (the numerical summary of how much you owe and how promptly you pay your bills, which is examined by everyone from lenders to landlords).
It is important to know you credit score and to confirm the details listed. You also have the right to challenge any information on the report to ensure that your credit report is accurate.
For a free credit report visit www.transunion.co.za
3. Tax planning
This is a great time to take advantage of some financial opportunities before the tax year closes (28 February), such as yearend tax deductions and retirement plan contributions.
Now is the perfect time to start collecting important tax documents and receipts and to meet with your CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® and your accountant.
He or she can offer valuable time-sensitive advice, such as selling shares, deferring income, contributing to retirement accounts, or donating to charity for a tax write-off.
4. Review your Insurance coverage
Review all your policies—Life, Disability, Home owner’s, and vehicle insurance etc. Are the limits adequate? Should the deductibles be raised? Is there a less expensive policy with similar coverage? Are you taking advantage of all the discounts offered to you by your insurance providers?
5. Create or update your Will
To prevent the unexpected from catching you and your family off guard, consider creating a Will or if you already have one, reviewing it on occasion. An updated Will ensures that your personal belongings, assets and investments go to the beneficiaries you choose. Make sure you and your partner know the contents of the Will.
6. Rebalance your portfolio
Making sure that your asset allocation is in line with your investment goals is an essential part of managing a portfolio and creating wealth. Now is an opportune time to do that, and the process may take only a few minutes. Contact the Ascor® office at 086 111 3187 or visit our Website www.ascor.co.za
7. Set short and long term goals
Whether you want to be debt-free in 10 years or own a house in five, you’re more inclined to save if you have specific goals. So write them down and determine how much money you’ll need to save each month to reach them.
8. Pay yourself first
Create a regular savings plan. Set up direct deposit from your paycheck into a savings account or investment. You won’t miss money you don’t see. Start as soon as possible – even if it is just a small amount in the beginning.
9. Plan for “D-Day”
Debt free Day (“D-Day”) planning starts with paying off bad debts, such as high-interest credit card bills and non-tax deductible debt.
10. Boost your retirement savings
You need to act on this before 28 February to benefit from the tax friendly investments into your retirement annuities and pension funds. Contact your CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® who will be able to assist you in calculating the amount available to contribute and receive the tax saving incentive and help you boost your retirement savings.Share this!