We all know goals are vital in both business and personal life. Most of us make financial plans with certain goals in mind. We usually use the annual period as a guide to how we're doing. But a mid-year financial checkup is a great tool to catch problems early. Also, it is a great time to make any spending or budget changes that could benefit you.
Your Financial Plan
To be effective, your financial plan should be realistic, explicit, and detailed. Projections should include estimated income, including investment income, detailed projected expense outlays, and expected tax ramifications. All deviations should be analyzed. How many times do things go exactly as planned? Almost never.
But you don't want to find out at the end of the year you're not where you need to be. A mid-year financial checkup is a great way to measure progress, check that you are still on course, and make any needed changes. It's as important as a semiannual checkup with your physician.
Accurately forecasting income is crucial. It permits you to make budget plans that work. However, for many of us, either business or personal income (or both) are uncertain. Check your income against your projections. If they differ, find out why. Is it a temporary deviation? Does your forecast for the year need adjustment? Greater income than expected permits us to consider expenditures we might not otherwise make.
In business, we might invest additional capital in improvements or infrastructure. Personally, we might take that much desired vacation trip to Hawaii. Tip: Save or invest a portion of any windfall. Less income than expected makes expedient budget adjustments necessary.
Make detailed and realistic budgets. Each individual budget deviation should be examined during your mid-year financial audit to find its cause. If your expenses are more than you anticipated, brainstorm for money-saving ideas. Refinancing your home can save you money, depending on rates and refinancing costs. Can you switch utility companies or phone service carriers? Renegotiate a lease? Make insurance changes? Are any reputable companies offering great deals right now? Examine vendors and pricing.
Make a plan. Work the plan. Adjust it when called for. You've no doubt heard variations of that any number of times. You likely made your plan at the beginning of the year, after evaluating last year's financial situation. Is the plan working? Your mid-year financial checkup is the perfect time to assess the company or personal tax situation. Have any tax laws changed? Are you in the most beneficial tax scenario possible? Are you where you expected to be? If not, why not? Are you maximizing your retirement plan investments? What tax strategy changes can you make that will benefit you at the end of the year? Sitting down for a few moments with your CPA may save you literally thousands of dollars.
Savings and Investments
Diversity limits risk. Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Diversify, so that if worst comes to worst, you can weather the storm. Balance high possible returns against risk and tax effects. Make sure you have sufficient cash to ride out any reasonable kind of rocky period in your business or personal finances. Keep an established percentage of your investments in more liquid forms, for ready access. Set an emergency fund aside.
The number one reason businesses fail is lack of available cash when needed. Check with your CPA for possible tax effects of any proposed business venture or change. Be realistic in your estimates on both the income and expense sides of the ledger. Realism beats optimism hands down when it comes to financial planning.
Financial Checkup Feedback
Feedback is one of life's great gifts. It lets us know how we're doing. Your mid-year financial checkup is an early warning system. If the numbers aren't what you anticipated, you still have time to make any necessary adjustments. This is the perfect time also to check your credit report to make sure it is accurate. Use your mid-year financial checkup to review all important aspects of your financial situation, and make any necessary changes in time to still have a successful year.
Professionals spend years gaining expertise in a particular area. Specialization allows the complicated world we live in to work. Most of us have no idea how to make or program a computer. We wouldn't attempt to repair our automobiles ourselves or perform surgery. The single greatest resource an individual or business often has is expert professional service. Utilize your CPA. Contact the team at Chandler & Knowles today to ensure you get the best financial and tax advice possible!