Wednesday, 01 January 2014 00:00

Get Financially Fit

Written by  Mike Schoenleber, Fulton Financial Advisors

Resolve to Get Financially Fit this New Year!


On your list of resolutions, don’t forget to include a quick financial check-up.

The New Year is a perfect time to make a few financial resolutions. Often people put off planning for their financial future, but the truth is—the earlier you begin preparations, the more you can plan for some of the unexpected financial bumps that may cross your path in life.

This year, take time to cross off the important “to-do” items to help get you and your family set for financial independence. Be sure to factor in planning for some of life’s momentous occasions: getting married, starting a family, purchasing a home and attending college. A financial advisor can work with you to address all these events by creating a solid plan and providing objective guidance regardless of your investment knowledge.

Also, review your budget and investment plan periodically to make sure you’re still meeting your goals. If you’re part of a couple, consider making “financial dates” with your spouse or partner to proactively talk about money.

Here are a few suggestions to help you become more financially fit in the New Year:

• Start saving for retirement: Check if your employer offers a retirement plan, which would allow you to invest a portion of every paycheck before taxes—or after taxes in the case of a Roth 401(k).

• Pay off personal debt: Pay off high-interest loans and credit cards as soon as possible. Paying off loans that charge high interest rates means substantial savings.

• Start a college fund for your children: College costs continue to climb, so begin saving early. Even an amount as small as $10 a week can build up to a substantial savings over the years. For example: If you save $10 a week for 18 years, that’s roughly $8,640 and if you place those funds in an account receiving 2 percent interest, it could grow to over $11,000.

• Write a simple will and also a living will: A simple will explains your wishes after your death and can keep your loved ones from having to make tough decisions. A living will makes your wishes known regarding life prolonging medical treatments.

• Name a guardian for your children: In the event that both you and your spouse pass away, naming a guardian will protect your children legally and ensure they have a responsible caretaker.

• Review your insurance policies: Take the time to go over all your insurance polices, especially if you recently had a large life event such as getting married, starting a family, or buying a house. Often you can combine insurance policies and receive package discounts.

• Plan for your future housing needs: Evaluate what your housing needs may be in five or 10 years. You may want to downsize to a smaller home, or make plans to have parents move in with your family as they get older. A separate savings fund for housing can accommodate these possibilities. 

Fulton Financial Advisors operates through Fulton Bank, N.A. and other subsidiaries of Fulton Financial Corporation and is headquartered at One Penn Square, Lancaster, PA 17602. Mike is a financial advisor with, and offers securities and variable annuities through, Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC, (not affiliated with Fulton Financial Advisors or Fulton Bank). Securities are not insured by the FDIC or any other government agency or bank insurance, are not deposits or obligations of the bank, are not guaranteed by the bank, and are subject to risks, including the possible loss of principal. Any opinions are those of Mike Schoenleber and not necessarily those of Raymond James.

Mike Schoenleber is a Financial Advisor with Fulton Financial Advisors and has served clients in the financial services industry for 17 years. He grew up in New Jersey and now resides in Oxford. For more information, contact him at 610-358-2324; MSchoenleber@FultonFinancial