New Year – Time for a Financial CHECK UP!

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Traditional lending products such as home mortgages and home equity credit lines can be important to a financial plan...

Beach First National BankWith the arrival of the New Year, it’s a great time to give your finances an annual physical. Just as you get an annual check up for yourself, it is a great idea to make sure your finances are in good health as well.

Technology is making it even easier for you to keep an eye on your financial planning. While an unlimited transaction checking account is essential for handling day-to-day expenditures, products such as debit cards, telephone banking and Internet banking have taken convenience to new levels. With internet banking products, consumers can transfer funds between accounts, check their balances, pay their bills, and view their account history, all at the click of a mouse, safely and securely. In fact, Internet banking is fast becoming a “must have” service for consumers everywhere due to its ease of use and accessibility.

Traditional lending products such as home mortgages and home equity credit lines can be important to a financial plan due to the tax savings they can provide. However, a new product, called a reverse mortgage, is becoming popular among senior citizens. With a reverse mortgage, homeowners age 62 or older can borrow against their equity without repayment for as long as they live in their home. Funds from the reverse mortgage can be provided in a lump sum, monthly installments, or through a line of credit and used for any need including day to day living expenses, long term medical care, travel, or even home improvements.

Lastly, any financial plan needs to include savings tools. Traditional and Roth IRAs are still a great way to build a retirement nest egg, which saving on taxes now, and should not be overlooked on the way to good fiscal health. High risk investments may be more appropriate for the younger crowd because they more than likely have a longer life span to spread the risk. However, older individuals should stick with more stable, low-risk investments to protect their nest eggs.

It is important to pay yourself first by making contributions to such savings vehicles before spending money on non-necessity items. It’s a good idea to keep at least three to six months salary set aside for use in the event of unforeseen circumstances. Additionally, those with young children should investigate the many college savings plans made available. It’s never too early to start thinking about how you will fund your child’s education! As with your health, always seek professional advice for your finances. Consulting a tax advisor when making investment decisions is a great start on the path to financial wellness!