Your July Financial Checklist: Keeping Your Financial Plan on Track

Happy July everyone.  As summer is well underway and we have surpassed the mid-way mark in the year, it’s a great time to take a step back and evaluate your financial health. With vacations, barbecues, and outdoor activities in full swing, it’s easy to lose track of your financial goals. Here’s a consolidated checklist to help you stay on top of your finances this July.

Mid-year is a perfect time to revisit your budget and see how you’re doing compared to your financial goals set at the beginning of the year. Here’s how to effectively benchmark your budget:

  • Track Summer Spending: Summer often brings unique expenses, such as vacations, outdoor events, and even often times higher utility bills. Review your spending in these categories and compare them to your currently monthly budget
  • Adjust for Seasonal Expenses: If you find that your summer spending is higher than anticipated, consider adjusting other areas of your budget to accommodate these seasonal expenses.
  • Evaluate Monthly Trends: Now that you have had several months under your belt to review cash flow and spending, look at your spending over the past six months to identify any trends or areas where you might need to cut back.

Whether you’re saving for a new car, a house, or simply building an emergency fund, July is a great time to assess your progress:

  • Emergency Fund: Do you feel comfortable with the level of your emergency fund? If not, prioritize building this fund.
  • Short-Term Savings: If you have specific savings goals (e.g., a holiday fund or home project), ensure you’re on track to meet them.
  • Automate Savings: Consider setting up automatic transfers to your savings accounts to ensure consistent progress.

Retirement might seem far off, but consistent contributions are key to a successful retirement plan. July is a great month to check in on where your contribution is at for the year and decide if you’d like to increase your monthly contribution or are on pace to max out your contribution if you intend to.

  • 401(k) and IRA Contributions: Check if you’re on track to maximize your contributions for the year. The 2024 contribution limit for 401(k) plans is $23,000 (or $30,500 if you’re 50 or older), and for IRAs, it’s $7000 (or $8,000 if you’re 50 or older).
  • Employer Match: If your employer offers a matching contribution, ensure you’re contributing enough to get the full match—this is essentially free money.
  • Rebalance Investments: Review your retirement account’s investment allocation and rebalance if necessary to align with your risk tolerance and retirement goals.

Summer is the time for fun, but fall and winter bring their own financial demands. Plan ahead to avoid stress:

  • Back-to-School Costs: If you have children, start budgeting for school supplies, clothing, and extracurricular activities.
  • Holiday Spending: Utilize the “bucket strategy” and begin setting aside money for holiday gifts, travel, and events to avoid last-minute financial strain.
  • End-of-Year Goals: Think about any other financial goals you’d like to achieve by the end of the year and start planning accordingly.

Lastly, despite busy summer plans and travel, it’s important to revisit and update your financial plan, particularly halfway thru the year. Your financial plan should be a living document that evolves with your life circumstances. If you are interested in re-visiting or even creating a financial plan, email or schedule a complimentary intro call here and we are happy to help. Remember, financial planning is a continuous process, and regular check-ins are key to staying on track.

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