Q: How can I be prepared for 2021 and beyond with continued uncertainty in the world?
A: Building upon last month’s financial checklist recommendations it seems timely to discuss 2021 and beyond. The 2021 outlook is highly dependent on COVID’s continued effects on the economy and household incomes. Vaccination availability, changing social restrictions and consumer confidence will play a key role in the markets outcome next year and into the future. There are some tried and true steps that you can take to ease the uncertainty. Here are some helpful actions that you can take to prepare yourself for 2021 and beyond in light of uncertainty, market volatility and our ever changing world.
- Develop a household budget. Some Americans have steady income paid on a regular basis, some have erratic income when self-employed or in unique work environments. In any case, it is helpful to begin each month with a zero-based budget to match income and expense.
- Create an emergency fund of 3-6 months of living expenses. The Certified Financial Planner® board recommends 3-6 months of reserves for unexpected expenses to avoid using credit cards or having to dip into retirement savings.
- Consider paying off expensive debt. Credit cards and other high interest debt (10-25%) can be a burden during uncertain times. Using your budget to allocate funds to pay off expensive debt can save thousands of dollars in interest over time.
- Keep retirement accounts for the long-term. Tapping retirement accounts such as workplace 401k or IRA accounts can be tempting during uncertain times, and there are special rules in place under the CARES ACT. Up to $100,000 can be taken out of 401(k), 403(b), and IRA plans with favorable tax treatment for COVID-19-related reasons under section 2202. However, if possible, preserving these funds for retirement is an optimal situation for most Americans.
Alpine Bank Wealth Management would be happy to schedule a visit to talk through these action items or to help you and your family plan for the future. Contact Dan McCaslin to learn what Alpine Bank Wealth Management can do for you. He can be reached at 970-384-3232 or [email protected].
Products of our Wealth Management service are not FDIC insured, may lose value and are not bank guaranteed.