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Year End Financial Planning Tips

December 2006
Year End Financial Planning Tips

As another year comes to a close, many people reflect on what they have done and what they would like to do for the coming year(s). While you are reflecting on financial goals, here are some suggestions you may want to act on.

1.Establish your net worth: The most successful people in the world focus on their net worth as a yard stick to determine their financial progress. Your net worth is calculated simply by first writing down all of your assets (Fair market of your home, retirement accounts, savings accounts, value of your business, personal belongings, etc.) and subtracting your liabilities (what you owe: outstanding mortgage amount, credit card debts, other obligations, etc.) from the total assets. The result is your current net worth. Make it a habit to review your net worth on a periodic basis. I would recommend at least once a year. You'll be surprised to see what you find. For example, you may forget that your home (or your retirement assets or even your business) has increased value. If you find your net worth has reduced, than inquire into why and what you can do to change that.

2.Set new goals: It has been proven over and over again, that people who establish and write down specific, timed goals are significantly more wealthy and successful than those who don't. If you have never done any formal goal setting, take a course on it. Read a book or listen to an audio program (my favorite) on goal setting. My personal favorite authors on goal setting are Anthony Robbins, Zig Ziglar and Brian Tracy. There are a ton of articles and programs available on the Internet. Just Google "goal setting" and see what shows up! If you like audio books, checkout www.audible.com���It is a great website which allows you to download audio books of all kinds onto your computer to either burn a CD or download to your Ipod or MP3 player. They will give you two books absolutely free just for trying them out! You can make your car a university while stuck in the Atlanta traffic. Introduce your kids to audio books. It can be quite entertaining as well as rewarding.

3.Review your finances: Get a financial checkup on your insurance policies (life, health, disability, long term care, auto, home and business). Review your retirement plans. Are you on course, or do you need to make some changes? Are your wills up-to-date? If you don't have a will, make it a point to meet with an estate planning attorney to draft it up. This is a very important aspect of your financial planning, which is often overlooked.

4.Review your college funding plans: Take a look at your children's college

funding. Costs associated with college education continue to rise. If your children are planning on going to high end private colleges, you may want to meet with a consultant on what they should be doing to help them get into the better colleges. Nowadays, good grades are not enough. Colleges are looking for kids who are more well rounded in other areas of life besides their school grades and SAT scores. A qualified college consultant can help you set your child straight! Be sure to ask for credentials and qualifications from counselors.

5.Review your tax plan: Year end is a great time to review your tax situation. If you have a significant amount of tax liabilities, you may be able to reduce it by taking benefit of numerous tax savings programs available..���Schedule a meeting with your financial advisor and seek alternatives. After December 31st, your choices are significantly limited. You may also want to consult with your CPA or tax advisor on tax saving opportunities. If nothing else, you will get a better feel for future liability or savings.

As simple as these suggestions sound, you'll be surprised to know that very few people in general take these steps. Yet, they can be the most important steps you can take for your future well-being.���Hope you have had a great year and all the best wishes to you and your family for a happy and prosperous new year!

By: Rajesh Jyotishi

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