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10 Top Financial Planning Tips to Get You Through December

We are heading into the holiday season and now—more than ever— is the time to really stick to your financial plan.  But let me ask you:  how have you done so far this year? Have you been adhering to your budget? Have you been investing and saving? If not, take a closer look at your plan and see if it needs adjusting. Take a look at these 11 tips, and try to make them work for you. Also, it's a good idea to include these tips in your New Year's resolution (I know it's early, but no reason not to start planning now).

1. Spend only what you can afford. It seems simplistic, but many people, even those with substantial incomes, ignore this basic financial principle. If you have more money going out than you have coming in, it's a recipe for eventual disaster.  

2. Make a budget and stick to it. This tip dovetails with the previous one. Track your expenses by keeping credit card receipts and noting cash payments. You may be surprised at how much you spend on certain items that may be unnecessary, i.e. "wants" versus "needs."

3. Avoid mounting credit card debt.  Despite recent legislation to reform rules on credit cards, your issuer can still impose double-digit interest rate charges on unpaid balances, sending your debt higher and higher and making it increasingly difficult to retire.

4. Pay yourself first. Coordinate this idea with previous tips. But the main point is to set aside perhaps 5% to 10% of your income on a regular basis—before it gets spent. Have your money automatically deducted from your paycheck and deposited into a separate account.

5. Invest your savings. Put your money to work for you. It's important to have an investment plan that considers when you'll need the money—for your kids' education, your retirement etc., and how much risk you're comfortable taking.  

6. Maximize employment benefits. Taking advantage of employer-sponsored health, dental, and life insurance could mean substantial savings. If your company offers flexible spending accounts, you can arrange to use pre-tax dollars to pay for unreimbursed medical or dental expenses.

7. Accumulate money in retirement plans. With your 401(k), you can defer part of your salary on a pre-tax basis to your investment account, and your company may match a portion of your contribution. Outside of work, both traditional and Roth IRAs can also help you build your retirement nest egg.

8. Convert to a Roth IRA.  A Roth IRA doesn't allow you to deduct contributions but can deliver tax-free payments in your 60s, 70s, and beyond. You can convert traditional plans to a Roth, paying tax on the converted amount now to avoid liability during retirement.  

9. Review insurance policies.  The need for life and disability insurance is greatest during peak earning years and when your children are at home. But you'll need adequate insurance coverage even during retirement.

10. Create or revise your will.  If you have one, it may need to be updated, especially in light of the generous $5 million estate tax exemption ($10 million for married couples) available for 2011 and 2012. It's also important to have a power of attorney document drawn up in case you are unable to manage your own finances.

 My team can discuss these 10 tips in depth, and how to create the best financial plan to meet your goals. Call me at 732-974-3770, write me at or visit us at

See you next time!


Securities offered through American Portfolios Financial Services, Inc. Member: FINRA, SIPC. Investment Advisory services are offered through American Portfolios Advisors, Inc., an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Froehlich Financial Group, LTD is not an affiliate of APA or APFS. 

Disclosure: If legal, tax, or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. This article is for informational purposes only.



Any opinions expressed in this forum are not the opinion or view of American Portfolios Financial Services, Inc. (APFS) or American Portfolios Advisors, Inc.(APA) and have not been reviewed by the firm for completeness or accuracy. These opinions are subject to change at any time without notice. Any comments or postings are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute an offer or a recommendation to buy or sell securities or other financial instruments. Readers should conduct their own review and exercise judgment prior to investing. Investments are not guaranteed, involve risk and may result in a loss of principal. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investments are not suitable for all types of investors.

Securities offered through American Portfolios Financial Services, Inc. Member: FINRASIPC. Investment Advisory products/services are offered through American Portfolios Advisors, Inc., a SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Froehlich Financial Group, Ltd. and American Executive Benefits, Inc. are not affiliates of APA or APFS. Executive wealth management products/services are offered through Froehlich Financial Group, LTD. a registered investment advisor

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