Financially Real

5 Smart Financial Moves to Make Right Now

5 Smart Financial Moves to Make Right Now | www.TheHeavyPurse.comFall officially begins on September 23. It may not feel very Fall-like in Southern California at the moment, but soon the air will turn cooler, the leaves will begin to fall and the days will grow shorter. We will fill our free moments with favorite Fall activities, like sipping pumpkin lattes as we carve spooky or silly faces into pumpkins with our kids. It’s one of my favorite times of the year and I can’t wait to do all of those things. But before you get too caught up in Fall fun, I encourage you to take a few minutes and make some smart financial moves before year-end.

5 Smart Financial Moves to Make this Fall

Most people tend to relax a bit in the summer and gear-up again in the Fall. This is the perfect time to make sure you end the year financially strong.

1. Track Goal Progress

It’s important to regularly review both long-term and short-term goals (and everything in-between) to monitor your progress because goal achievement doesn’t happen because you set goals or wish for them to come true. You should at least review all goals quarterly, while some goals, such as debt elimination or vacation savings, may require more frequent check-ups to stay on target.

Now let’s get Financially Real: Not all goals are created equal. Some matter more than others. Review the ones that matter most, first. I find that people often work on the goals that matter the least because they are easier to achieve, which may be a good tactic if you are new to goal-setting and need to experience a win to help you tackle the harder and more valued goals. However, I also find most people continue to cherry pick the easier and lower-valued goals over higher priority goals, but remember — those high-value goals bring the greatest satisfaction and take you another step closer to realizing your ideal life.

To Do: Review every goal individually, starting with the highest-value goal. Outline any action steps you need to take before your next check-in and set benchmarks for your next review.

2. Review Your Investment Strategy

Unless you live under a rock, you may recall the recent (and continued) market volatility we are currently experiencing. Market volatility is a natural, normal occurrence, but we still tend to react emotionally when we experience it, which can aggravate and worsen the situation. We see portfolio balances drop and our default reaction is often panic, which is further fueled by the media. It is scary and nerve-wracking, but there is also opportunity to mine too. Stay emotionally competent so you can make goal-based and informed decisions, rather than emotional ones you may regret later.

To Do: You’ve reviewed your goals, so now make sure your investment strategy remains in alignment with your goals. Goals can and do change, which means your investment strategy may need to be adjusted as well. Talk to your financial advisor and see if the current market volatility is creating opportunities you should consider and offers any tax advantages to minimize your 2015 tax bill.

3. Review Your Insurance Coverage

There is a lot of angst around insurance as people don’t like thinking about their own mortality. I’ve been a Certified Financial Planner for 23 years and I can tell you from firsthand experience the difference insurance makes in the lives of those who have the protection when needed and those who don’t. People will insure things of high-value without argument, except for themselves, which has never made much sense to me. You — and your ability to earn a living — is what pays for all those valuable things you happily insure and more importantly — the life you’ve created for yourself and your family. Value yourself (and your loved ones) first.

To Do: Review your insurance coverage, making sure it is up-to-date (i.e. beneficiary forms) and you have adequate coverage. As your earnings grow and you have children, you may need increase your coverage to adjust to the changes in your life. Also, don’t forget about disability and long-term care insurance needs either. If you opt to forgo DI and LTC coverage, what is your plan if a need arises? And statistically, there is a high probability it will.

4. Earn a Little Extra Money

I know we’re just entering Fall but the busy and expensive holiday season will be here before you know it. Hopefully, you’ve been saving money throughout the year for the holidays, but if you haven’t, you still have a few months to start saving and also earn a little extra money too.

A few options to help you earn some extra money before the holidays:

To Do: Review or create your holiday budget now to avoid creating debt later. Consider earning some extra money to help offset expenses or to go towards other goals.

5. Review Your Financial Life

Most of us are aware of the need to take care of the above moves and do so to differing degrees. The first three, in particular, create a big chunk of our financial lives. But they don’t create all of it. There are lots of little things, like credit scores, beneficiary forms, Wills, etc., that connect to them and create our whole financial life. Let’s also make sure they are in tip-top shape too.

End 2015 in a Financially Strong Position

It’s somewhat sobering to realize how soon 2015 will come to close. But the next few months will zip on by and soon we will be counting down to the start of 2016. By completing these five smart financial moves this Fall, you will put yourself in a position to end the year strong and also start 2016 in a great place financially.

What financial moves do you plan to make this Fall?


September 21, 2015  •  18 Comments  •  Financially Real

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  1. Monday, September 21st, 2015
    This is an excellent post FILLED with gems of good advice. From goal setting, to reviewing your investments, to creating your own financial life, there's a little bit of everything in here. Even as a financial planner and financial blogger, I am going to schedule a time to do these things because otherwise, they just won't all get done.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, September 24th, 2015
      Thanks, Natalie! I have to make time in my schedule to do these things too. It's so easy to put them off, but they are critical to our financial well-being.
  2. Monday, September 21st, 2015
    I always think this is the best time to review all sorts of insurance coverage because it's right before open enrollment for most companies and you want to make sure that you are completely covered by what your employer can provide for you.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, September 24th, 2015
      I agree, Shannon. Too many people don't take full advantage of the benefits their company offers them or wrongly assume that the coverage they provide is adequate.
  3. Monday, September 21st, 2015
    Almost all of these, except for the investing part, we still have an issue finding some reliable investing opportunities in my country.

    I am also working a lot on my portfolio web site, adding new products and showcasing new designs, trying to get an email list going etc. Hope to make some progress and start 2016 on the right foot.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, September 24th, 2015
      Sounds like a good plan, Ramona!
  4. Monday, September 21st, 2015
    I need to check in with my year goals and see what I can still accomplish by the end of the year. It's easy to have those fall by the wayside.
    • Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015
      Me too!
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, September 24th, 2015
      It is. We always have the best intentions, but live is busy and goals get forgotten. There is still time to take action and see progress, which is what matters the most.
  5. Monday, September 21st, 2015
    It does feel like fall here in Colorado!

    These are great reminders to check in and follow up to make sure the year ends on a positive note. I'd hate to realize January 1st that I forgot to do something that might result in significant tax savings.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, September 24th, 2015
      I bet it does and I bet it's starting to look like Fall too. It's still plenty warm here. :) I hate realizing on January 1st any missed opportunities I had too.
  6. Monday, September 21st, 2015
    #3 and #4 are what I'm focusing on this Fall. I am in the process of getting my life insurance underwrited, and I'm also working on my book (copy is due this November, release date May - crazy timelines!). Fall is a good time to focus on your finances before the holidays take over your time (and sanity).
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, September 24th, 2015
      Good for you, DC! I'm glad you're getting life insurance taken care of as I know it's been on your to-do list for awhile! :)
  7. Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015
    I am hosting a simple yard sale. Most items bought are Halloween party costumes I wore in the previous years. This is my first time to have a yard sale and it seems like there will be follow-ups as this is very enjoyable and I have earned some money, which goes to my emergency fund.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, September 24th, 2015
      Good for you, Jayson. I am often surprised by how much people can make from the garage or yard sales. It's a nice way to make some extra money while getting rid of stuff. And good for you for putting the money in your emergency fund too!
  8. Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015
    Selling stuff on Ebay and Craigslist is a good one! My husband is really good at doing that, which is a good thing since we are moving quite soon :)
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, September 24th, 2015
      Moving is great motivation to get rid of stuff. And it's even better when you can make a little extra money while doing so too. :)
  9. Sunday, October 18th, 2015
    Great post!

    I feel like I definitely could put more effort in the "insurance" aspect. I actually do call my insurances every 6 months and try to come up with a better deal. So I've actually gotten my insurances to go down in the past 6 months, which I was surprised by!

    Looking forward to reading more of your articles! :-)

  • Meet Shannon

    "As a Certified Financial Planner, it is my passion to help individuals and families build a healthy relationship with money. I look forward to helping you raise financially confident kids.” - Shannon Ryan