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The newsletter articles on this page provide valuable information on timely and interesting financial issues across a variety of subject areas, including retirement, investments, personal finance, annuities, insurance, taxes, college, and government benefits.


   
What Happened to Your Money?
Hybrid Funds: Balanced, Lifestyle, or Target?
Reviewing Your Estate Plan
Should I consider requesting a deferment or forbearance for my federal student loans?
Are my student loans eligible for public service loan forgiveness?


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What Happened to Your Money?

If you don't know what happened to your money during the past year, it's time to find out. December and January are the perfect months to look back at what you earned, saved, and spent, as W-2s, account statements, and other year-end financial summaries roll in.

How much have you saved?

If you resolved last year to save more or you set a specific financial goal (for example, saving 15% of your income for retirement), did you accomplish your objective? Start by taking a look at your account balances. How much did you save for college or retirement? Were you able to increase your emergency fund? If you were saving for a large purchase, did you save as much as you expected?

How did your investments perform?

Review any investment statements you've received. How have your investments performed in comparison to general market conditions, against industry benchmarks, and in relationship to your expectations and needs? Do you need to make any adjustments based on your own circumstances, your tolerance for risk, or because of market conditions?

Did you reduce debt?

Tracking your spending is just as important as tracking your savings, but it's hard to do when you're caught up in an endless cycle of paying down your debt and then borrowing more money. Fortunately, end-of-year mortgage statements, credit card statements, and vehicle financing statements will all spell out the amount of debt you still owe and how much you've really been able to pay off. You may even find that you're making more progress than you think. Keep these paper or online statements so you have an easy way to track your progress next year.

Where did your employment taxes go?

If you're covered by Social Security, the W-2 you receive from your employer by the end of January will show how much you paid into the Social Security system via payroll (FICA) taxes collected. If you're self-employed, you report and pay these taxes (called self-employment taxes) yourself. FICA taxes help fund future Social Security benefits, including retirement, disability, and survivor benefits, but many people have no idea what they can expect to receive from Social Security in the future.

This year, get in the habit of checking your Social Security Statement annually to find out how much you've been contributing to the Social Security system and what future benefits you might expect, based on current law. To access your Statement, sign up for a my Social Security account at the Social Security Administration website, socialsecurity.gov.

Did your finances improve?

Once you've reviewed your account balances and financial statements, your next step is to look at your whole financial picture. Taking into account your income, your savings and investments, and your debt load, did your finances improve over the course of the year? If not, why not?

Next, it's time to think about the changes you would like to make for next year. Start by considering the following questions:

  • What are your greatest financial concerns?
  • Do you need help or advice in certain areas?
  • Are your financial goals the same as they were last year?
  • Do you need to revise your budget now that you've reviewed what you've earned, saved, and spent?

Use what you've learned about your finances to set your course for the new year ahead. Challenge yourself to save more and spend less so that you can make steady financial progress.

 
©2018 Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.
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IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES

CWA Asset Management Group, LLC is a SEC-registered investment adviser, doing business as Capital Wealth Advisors and as blueharbor wealth advisors.  Fundamental Global Investors, LLC is a SEC-registered investment adviser that is affiliated with CWA Asset Management Group, LLC. Information presented is for educational purposes only and does not intend to make an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies.  Investments involve risk and unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed. Nothing herein should be interpreted as investment advice. Be sure to first consult with a qualified financial adviser and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed herein. Specific companies or securities described in this report are meant to be illustrative of investment style. Such case studies are not meant to be, and may not be, representative of any portfolio or holdings of CWA Asset Management Group, LLC, or Fundamental Global Investors, LLC.

Please note that past performance is not indicative of future results.

This material is solely for informational purposes and is intended only for the named recipient. Nothing contained herein constitutes investment, legal, tax or other advice nor is it to be relied on in making an investment or other decision.

Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. does not provide investment, tax, legal, or retirement advice or recommendations. The information presented here is not specific to any individual's personal circumstances. These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable — we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice.

 



This communication is strictly intended for individuals residing in the state(s) of FL. No offers may be made or accepted from any resident outside the specific states referenced.