Now that we’ve made it through tax season and military families may be taking summer vacations, it’s a great time to take a look at your finances to ensure things are on track for the year. Planning opportunities are few and far between later in the year, so now is an ideal time.
Here are 5 steps to helping you evaluate your current financial situation:
Step 1: Determine your priorities
Do you have any life-changing events in the works this year? Events such as marriage, PCS’ing, birth of a child, buying a house or retirement can all play into what financial adjustments you should consider making mid-year. Are your savings on track? Are you expected to have an increase or decrease in salary that would require you and your family to increase savings or start clipping coupons?
How about debt? Did you acquire additional debt from the holidays that you are now trying to pay off? Are you comfortable with the amount of debt you are carrying?
What other specific financial concerns are there you should address at this time? Write everything down and address each item one at a time. If you have concerns that you need help with, feel free to reach out to us at AFBN. We provide financial guidance and answer questions for military members FREE-OF-CHARGE and with NO obligation.
Taking an inventory of your current concerns and addressing them now will alleviate stress that tends to crop up at year-end.
Step 2: Review your taxes
Completing a midyear estimate of your tax liability may reveal tax planning opportunities. You can use last year’s tax return as a basis, then make any anticipated adjustments to your income and deductions for this year. You’ll want to check your withholding, especially if you owed taxes when you filed your most recent income tax return or you received a large refund. Doing that now, rather than waiting until the end of the year, may help you avoid a big tax bill
or having too much of your money tied up with Uncle Sam. If necessary, adjust the amount of federal or state income tax withheld from your paycheck by filing a new Form W4 with your employer.
To help avoid missed tax-saving opportunities for the year, one basic thing you can do right now is to set up a system for saving receipts and other taxrelated documents. This can be as simple as dedicating a folder in your file cabinet to this year’s tax return so that you can keep track of important paperwork.
Step 3: Reconsider your retirement plan
If you’re working and you received a pay increase this year, don’t overlook the opportunity to increase your retirement plan contributions by asking your employer to set aside a higher percentage of your salary. In 2015, you may be able to contribute up to $18,000 to your workplace retirement plan ($24,000 if you’re age 50 or older).
What other opportunities are available for military members to save for retirement?
Take a look at this article and brush up on some of the benefits available for military members:
Step 4: Identify your insurance needs
Do you know exactly how much life and disability insurance coverage you have? Are you familiar with the terms of your homeowners, renters, and auto insurance policies? If not, it’s time to add your insurance policies to your summer reading list. Insurance needs frequently change, and it’s possible that your coverage hasn’t kept pace with your income or family circumstances.
Want to learn more about life insurance? Take a look at this article:
Step 5: Order FREE financial materials
Did you know that AFBN has FREE financial materials geared to help military members learn more about financial topics? Topics such as VA loans, education financial assistance, taxes, and techniques for financial security can be found by clicking here.
For more information on how AFBN can help you, contact your nearest service center location.