Take an Annual Financial Checkup

Financial Resources

Anytime is an ideal time to sit back and review your finances. Depending on the time of the year, you may be able to make changes to take advantage of opportunities or help prepare for filing your tax return. Here are some areas to consider:

— Have you chosen deductibles that provide lower premiums with an acceptable level of risk?
— Do you have an umbrella liability policy for potential large damages? Do you have enough life insurance including cheaper term insurance?
— Have you considered a life insurance trust to keep insurance proceeds out of your estate?

Want to keep all your insurance information in one conveninent place? Download our Insurance Worksheet.

— Could you reduce your monthly mortgage payments by refinancing your mortgage?
— Should you consider some other type of mortgage (ARM, 15 year, 30 year) that corresponds with how long you plan to stay in your current home?

Read our helpful article on refinancing a home mortgage in our Financial Resources section. Or, use our convenient mortgage calculator to start crunching the numbers.

Household Spending
— Have you analyzed your monthly spending to identify ways to save?
— Do you have a household budget?

Set up budgets easily in MyMoney Center, and track where and when you spend!

Retirement Planning
— Have you calculated your retirement income and asset needs? Many calculators can be found on the Internet.
— Are you taking full advantage of your employer’s 401(k) plan or other retirement plan?
— Are you going to make an IRA contribution? If so, make it early.
— Should you consider converting your IRA to a Roth IRA?

Can't decide between a 401(k) or an IRA? Read our Q & A.
Use our helpful retirement calculators to determine how much to save for how long, and what options are best for you. Visit our calculator page and click on the "Retirement" tab.

College Funding
— Are you regularly saving for a child’s college expenses?
— Have you investigated Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (Education IRAs) or Qualified Tuition (Section 529) Plans? These types of accounts provide tax advantages make accumulating funds for college easier.

Want to know how much you'll need to save? Check out this college savings calculator.
Need more information? Read up on the college funding options every parent should know on our website.

Your Investments
— Do you have an asset allocation plan to serve as a framework for your individual investment decisions?
— Have you reviewed your portfolio holdings recently?
— Does your investment strategy match your time horizon and risk tolerance?

Visit our calculator page and click on the "Investment" tab to help you get a better overview of your investment priorities.

Income Taxes
— Are your withholding and estimated tax payments at the right level?
— Have you considered deferring income to next year or accelerating deductions to this year to delaying paying tax for a year?
— Are you possibly subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)? Stock option exercise, large deductions or the phase out of the benefits of personal exemptions at high-income levels could subject you to this tax. Contact your tax professional if you think you may be subject to AMT.

Estate Planning
— Have you had your estate plan reviewed recently? If you have moved, had a change in your family situation (births or deaths) or a change in your financial status, you may want to schedule a review with your advisor.
— Does your estate plan provide for the naming of the guardians for your children and the executor of your estate you wish?
— Does your estate plan reflect the changing estate tax laws?

The proper administration and settlement of your estate is an important part of your overall wealth management strategy. We provide services to effectively administer and distribute estate assets to heirs. Visit the Fiduciary and Trust page of our website for more information.

Taking control of your financial future is an on-going process that requires some time and effort. Consider using a weekend to review your finances. Hopefully, everything is fine. If not, take the actions necessary for your sake and that of your family.

Financial articles provided by WestStar Bank are for information purposes only and are not to be construed as tax or investment advice. Please consult with a tax and/or investment professional if you have any questions or doubts about any of the information contained in the articles.

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