Consumer Advisory: Three tips to kick off a financially fit New Year

DENVER — When we think of New Year’s resolutions, often the first on the list is to get physically fit. But there’s another type of fitness goal that should be just as high on the resolution list, and that’s financial fitness.  So whether you plan on jumping on a treadmill, throwing out your sugary foods, or ridding yourself of a vice, don’t forget to also take a look at the money matters that tend to fall through the cracks, and give yourself some peace of mind regarding your financial security. After all of the excitement (and spending) of the holidays, it makes sense to take time in January to ensure that your financial house is in order. Not only will you increase your financial fitness level, but taking these steps may also prevent future pitfalls.

  • Get Organized

Create and carefully maintain an orderly system for your current investments and money management accounts. Whether it’s a designated drawer with organized files, a computer program, or one of the newer online personal finance tools and apps that allow you to organize, manage and even pay bills through one central account, keeping all your affairs in a place that’s easy to access and review on a regular basis is the best way for you to monitor your financial health. Note:  if you are managing files on a computer, be vigilant about cybersecurity. Speaking with an expert who can analyze and recommend proper protections is a great place to start.

  • Meet with a Licensed Financial Professional

The beginning of a new year is a great time to take a look at how things were managed in the previous year. It can also be beneficial in getting an early start preparing for tax season. When meeting with a licensed financial professional, take a notebook to write down questions, notes, and next steps so that the things you discuss won’t be forgotten or overlooked once the meeting is done. It’s also helpful to review your statements side-by-side with your professional. Be sure you can explain what he/she is discussing with you in your own words.  And if there is anything you don’t understand, speak up. Ask questions and don’t leave until you have clarity. This will create a dialogue between you and your professional and ensure that decisions are based on what’s most suitable for your goals. It will also help you better recognize if there are any  changes or issues that may arise in future statements.

  • Get Legal Affairs in Order

The beginning of a new year is always a good time to set up a meeting with an attorney or someone who helps manage your legal affairs. Review documents pertaining to your wishes for power of attorney, wills, and other important considerations that would need to be in place should you face an emergency in the coming year.

Of course, if you need assistance, ask DORA -- the Division of Securities at the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) is available to take your calls and questions about these three tips and more. Call the Division (303) 894-2320 or the DORA Senior Hotline (720) 593-6720 for help at any time.