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Start the New Year Fresh with Leisure and Finances

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We’ve all heard the New Year’s resolution clichés – lose weight, eat healthier, learn a new language or skill, and so on. After all, what better time than the New Year to reflect on years gone by and to build a bold vision for the future? 

One New Year’s resolution that is often overlooked is leisure and time management. We all have a finite amount of time at our disposal, and your financial circumstances often are the greatest constraint on your ability to be free from obligations and to enjoy leisure time with family and friends (as well as the much-coveted time for self-care and relaxation!).

Will your leisure time be worry-free? To maximize the enjoyment you obtain from your free time, you must actively prepare for it. Simply put, leisure is a financial priority that requires careful planning.

A crucial step in preparing for your leisure time – especially for those who are approaching or have recently begun retirement – is to update your net-worth statement at least once a year.  The New Year is the ideal time to take a fresh look at your circumstances and determine your budget – not only for how you spend your money, but also for how you spend your time.

If you are excited by the prospect of creating a net-worth statement, you are in a small minority. For many women, reviewing financial statements and documents is often perceived as an overwhelming task. However, the benefits of understanding your financial positioning – and the associated leisure time that your financial situation affords you – is the key to helping you gain real fulfillment from your leisure time with less anxiety and more confidence.

A net-worth statement provides a succinct but comprehensive overview of your full financial picture. Your net worth statement serves four primary purposes: it documents where you stand financially, creates a reminder to take action, serves as a starting point for locating assets when necessary, and provides a tool to help you make informed decisions.

Where Do I Start? 

The first step is to track down all of the accounts and other assets you own, which include (but are not limited to): bank/brokerage accounts, mutual funds, retirement and benefit plans, insurance policies, certificates, bonds, notes held, personal property and real estate. Note that jointly held assets and trusts should also be included. An experienced financial advisor can be instrumental in sorting through the details and illuminating the big picture.

Once you’ve listed each account, document how the assets are held (i.e. joint, individual, trust, qualified plan, etc.), the account numbers, and their current value. If any of your holdings are not clearly valued, include it on your net-worth statement with a value of $1. If desired, you may want to map out all of this information using a flow chart or a similar visual organization tool.

Now that your net-worth statement is compiled, the big question is: How do my financial circumstances impact my freedom to fulfill the most important priorities in my life? As with all aspects of your life, if you focus on a direction and continue to map out your journey, you will increase the probability of reaching your destination – in this case, to achieve the most quality leisure time possible.

Key Questions to Consider

✔With your net-worth statement in mind, here are a brief questionnaire that can provide some guidance in creating a plan that could achieve your financial and leisure objectives:

✔Are you pleased with the progress you’re making? How can you drive progress in the desired direction?

✔Have your decisions last year met your objectives? If not, where have you fallen short?

✔If you are nearing retirement, how secure do you believe your current positioning/asset accumulation is?

✔Are you in great shape to take the vacation you planned? Can you plan and pay for family time together?

✔Will cash flow be more or less than last year? 

✔What changes are significant enough to be factored into your financial goals? 

✔How much do you desire to save and how will you invest? 

In addition to reviewing these short-term considerations, you will want to put your net-worth sheet in the context of your 3-5 year financial strategy. This is a great way for couples to determine if you are on the same page emotionally and with regards to their shared vision. Talk openly about your concerns and goals, focusing on a plan that works for both of you.

On behalf of our CAS family team, Happy New Year and happy planning!

Investment advisory services offered through Ciccarelli Advisory Services, Inc., a registered investment adviser independent of FSC Securities Corporation.  Securities and additional investment advisory services offered through FSC Securities Corporation, member FINRA/SIPC and a registered investment adviser. 9601 Tamiami Trail North, Naples, FL. 239-262-6577.

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