By Wouter Fourie (CFP®)
10 Point Financial Planning Checklist
By Wouter Fourie (CFP®)
Director of Ascor® Independent Wealth Managers
A Financial planning checklist is an excellent tool to check how you are progressing towards your financial goals and to also help identify any specific areas you might need to focus on in the immediate future.
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.
Break down your expenses into categories like.g. Home, Daily Living, Transportation and identify where you can save.
For a free budget template visit our Website www.ascor.co.za – Select downloads from the bottom left menu and click 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 your 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 tax practitioner.
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, Homeowner’s, vehicle insurance etc. Is the cover adequate? Should the deductibles be increased? Is there a policy with similar coverage for a lower premium? Are you taking advantage of all the discounts offered to you by your insurance providers?
5. Create or update your Will
To avoid nasty surprises, consider drafting a Will or if you already have one, reviewing it regularly. An updated Will ensures that your personal belongings, assets and investments go to the correct beneficiaries. Make sure you and your partner know the contents of the Will.
6. Re-balance your portfolio
Making sure that your asset allocation is aligned with your investment goals is an essential part of managing an investment 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 pay check 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 contributions 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.
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