By Deka Wiebusch
For The Bellingham Business Journal
There is plentiful advice that can be given about getting your financial affairs in order. So many actionable steps can leave you overwhelmed. I want to narrow it down for you to the single most important action you can take: participate. I know it seems too easy, but annual participation can help your financial wellbeing. It is important, at all stages of life and income brackets.
Participating when you are young is important. You can do this by making contributions a part of your budget. Not only does this create good behavior (hopefully for years to come) but it also gives you the advantage of the time value of money. Whether you participate to your employer sponsored 401K or you simply start an investment account, this small step can make a huge difference for your financial well-being.
Participate by knowing where your money goes. It’s easy to watch it come in and go out and not know exactly how it is being divided. Knowing the numbers and understanding how you can make your money work for you is imperative. It’s admirable if you can set up a budget also. The goal here is to see where money outflows so that you can make better decisions. Hopefully creating a strategy to pay off debt, save and furthermore invest.
Participate together. If you are married, having both spouses actively participate in the financial process is positive. Often one spouse does the finances while the other takes a more laid back and less involved status. It’s important that both parties work together and actively agree on money decisions. Having both spouses participate will hopefully improve the buy in rate from both parties, meaning you’ll be more successful working together.
Participate by having an annual review with your financial advisor. While most advisors review accounts there are no guarantees. Are your still on the right track? You have a duty to this process also. You need to keep your advisor up to date on changes that may affect your financial future. Getting married, having a child, changing jobs, making a large purchase or changing retirement plans are just a few triggering events that may change your financial plan. An annual meeting with your advisor is the best way to make sure you are keeping them up to date while they are actively reviewing your accounts.
I know, I’ve asked you to do more than just one step for your financial wellbeing. Ultimately if you can commit to participating in just one or two steps annually you will be more aware of your finances and hopefully be more successful while avoiding some missteps. If it’s too overwhelming, then find a financial advisor who can guide you through the process.
Deka Wiebusch AIF® is a financial advisor at Skyline Advisors, a locally owned and operated Registered Investment Advisor providing money management and financial planning services. Skyline Advisors is located at 405 32nd St., Ste 201 in Bellingham and at www.myskylineadvisor.com
Deka can be reached at (360) 671–1621 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.