Your Financial Bucket List for Summer

10 things to check off your financial to-do list before Labor Day

Grand Ole Creamery, Grand Avenue, St. Paul, MN

My kids’ last day of school was June 6th. The next day I was bugging them to create a summer bucket list of activities they wanted to do before Labor Day.

Not just fun stuff like going to the lake or hanging out at The Grand Ole Creamery. I also wanted them to actually get some things done, like clean out their rooms, thin out their herd of stuffed animals or gather up their old clothes so we can donate them to the Goodwill.

You know, important stuff.

“Summer is going to be over before you know it”, I told them.  “And there is not going to be enough time to get it all done if you wait until the last minute.”

“And I am not doing it for you!” I had to throw that last part in before they disappeared into the delightful abyss they call their bedrooms.

Now I am going to give you the same suggestion: make a financial bucket list for summer. And not just fun stuff like planning your dream vacation, but important stuff too. 

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Schedule that dream vacation. OK, you get to add some fun stuff to your list. Besides, it’s a good idea to have some fun with your money. Why not use some of it to create memories and experiences that you and your family will have forever? Although you can go overboard, I think money spent on travel is never wasted. Plus, it’s fun to have something to look forward to even if your dream trip is still a ways off.
  • Make an appointment with an estate planning attorney. Update your will and related documents if you haven’t done so within the last few years. Need a referral? Let me know. I have several I can send your way.
  • Save your healthcare directive and power of attorney documents in a place where others can retrieve them from anywhere at a moments notice. Storing important documents in a file somewhere won’t work in an emergency. Your key people need to be able have those documents on hand. Make sure they do.
  • Create a healthcare power of attorney for your unmarried, adult kids. If you have kids who are age 18 or older and they have a medical emergency you may not be able to get information about their condition or provide input on their care without proper legal documents. Make sure you do this as soon as possible after they turn 18. Your attorney can help.
  • Send your financial advisor a post card. My team and I like vacations too. And we love to live vicariously through you. This year we had clients travel to Malta, Sicily, Banff, Montreal, Bryce Canyon National Park, even China! If you go somewhere fun this summer, send us a photo or post card. We’ll put it on our wall.
  • Review the investments in your 401k. How much risk do you have in your retirement plan? With markets near all-time highs and a hawkish Fed raising interest rates, now may be the time to reduce your exposure to market risk. How much risk is too much? Contact me and I will run a report that will show you how much your retirement plan could go up or down in extreme market conditions.
  • Increase your retirement plan contribution by 1% of your salary or $25 a paycheck, whichever is more. The only way to accumulate assets over time is to continue to save and invest. Make it a goal to consistently save 10% to 20% of your income each year, if you are not doing so already. As an added benefit, when your retirement plan contributions increase, your income tax bills decrease.
  • Order a copy of your free credit report. Everyone is entitled to one free credit report a year. Do this for yourself, your spouse and your minor children. It’s the only way to know if anyone has taken out a credit card or other credit in your name. You can get yours at www.annualcreditreport.com  or by clicking here.
  • Change your most important passwords. Cybersecurity is a major problem and is getting worse all the time. One of the best ways to protect yourself is to have robust passwords that are changed every 90 days or so. Many experts recommend passwords that are 12 or more characters long and to use two-factor authentication whenever possible.  While this may be a headache to do on all your accounts, it should be the minimum standard on all your most important accounts: such as any financial accounts, your email, etc.
  • Refer your favorite financial advisor to others like you. My clients are the best and the best way to establish relationships with new clients is through referrals from people who already know, like and trust you. An easy way to refer me is to share my blog posts with others or ask them if I may contact them directly.

That’s 10 things to kick off your financial bucket list. Pick one or two from the list above or create your own. Then make it happen.

Summer will be over before you know it.