A Mid-Year Checklist

Written By: Carl Carlson

As we rapidly approach the middle of the year, I think it’s a great time to slow down for a weekend, grab a couple beers, a bottle of wine, or a glass of tea…three of my favorites… and relax in one of your favorite spots.  My favorite spot in the summer is under a shade tree on our little farm in Kansas.  And spend some time reflecting on what has happened in your financial world so far this year and what lies ahead for the second half of the year. Here is a handy list of 10 things to think about:

  • Your Estate Plan – Are changes warranted? How can it be made better?
  • Are you sure you’re staying within your budget, especially as summer activities start to ramp up. 
  • Review your portfolio and see if you feel like adjustments should be made.  It’s been a great year so far for the stock market so maybe you should consider moving some money (and taking some profits) from the roof of your financial house to the foundation. Think about what percentage of your nest egg you want in safety and what percent in riskier buckets.
  • Think about if you want to consider meeting with your Financial Advisor for mid-year Tax Planning; how should you be thinking about charitable giving for the remainder of the year, and what about how to deal with required minimum distributions. It’s a good time to get ahead of financial events later in the year.
  • Identify assets and set or revisit financial goals. Be clear about the purpose of each asset and how it will be used. 
  • Risk levels and tolerance should also be evaluated periodically because your tolerance for risk can change over the years. It helps to review your plan and make sure everything still aligns with your goals. 
  • If you’re not already, should you be maxing out your retirement account contributions if possible, and once you’re eligible, take advantage of catch-up contributions. 
  • Fall open enrollment is now on the horizon, now is a great time to think about what changes you want or need to make.
  • Review your budget, overall income, assets, debts, and other liabilities. 
  • Check in on your retirement savings to see if you’re still on track for saving. 

Then lay back and take a nice little nap. And dream of what your future will look like.

Have a great weekend!

Say What?

How retailers like Best Buy, TJ Maxx and Home Depot quietly target “problem” returners

The article highlights:

Think twice before you buy your dad another tie he doesn’t need for Father’s Day … In 2023, 81 percent of US retailers implemented pay-to-return polices in some form or fashion. Amazon, Macy’s, TJMaxx, Walmart and Staples all rolled out changes to established return policies, through shrinking return windows, charging for some returns, or even telling shoppers to keep the merchandise. The National Retail Federation says about 14.5 percent of sales last year were returned, totaling about $743 billion. The losses associated with returns is prompting some retailers to track and target return behavior. Shoppers are assigned a return score based on their behavior, and in some cases may override a store’s return policy. 

This week in history:

1944 – June 6 marks the 80th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of northern France. A successful Allied invasion of the continent was central to victory in WWII. 

1956 – City officials in Santa Cruz, California banned rock and roll music at public gatherings, calling the music, “Detrimental to both the health and morals of or youth and community.”

2004 (20 years ago) – Former President Ronald Reagan died June 5, 2004 after a lengthy struggle with Alzheimer’s. 

What did it cost? (Cell Phone)

1974 – N/A (1982 Motorola DynaTac – $3995)

2004 – $350 (base price without carrier contract)

2024 – $799 (base iPhone 15 model

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