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Do You Know Where Your Money Is?

Mar 07, 2014 09:20AM ● By Anonymous

As W-2s, account statements, and other year-end financial summaries roll in, the beginning of the New Year is the perfect time to look back on what was earned, saved and spent during 2013. So before Punxsutawney Phil comes out of his burrow to predict when spring is coming, take some time to get your financial house in order.

How much have you saved?

Whether you simply resolved last year to save more or you set a specific financial goal, it's time to find out how you did. Start by taking a look at your account balances. How much did you save for college or retirement? Were you able to increase your emergency fund? If you were saving for a large purchase, did you save as much as you expected? Challenge yourself in the New Year to save more so that you can make steady financial progress.

How did your investments perform?

Review any investment statements you've received. How have your investments performed in comparison to general market conditions, against industry benchmarks and in relationship to your expectations and needs? Do you need to make adjustments based on your own circumstances, your tolerance for risk or market conditions?

Did you reduce debt?

Tracking your spending is just as important as tracking your savings, but it's hard to do when you're caught up in an endless cycle: Paying down your debt and then borrowing additional money, over and over again. Fortunately, end of year financial statements — such as mortgage, credit card and auto — will reveal the amount of debt still due and how much was paid off. Consequently, you may find you're making more progress than you think. Keep these statements so that you have an easy way to track your progress next year.

Where do your employment taxes go?

If you're covered by Social Security, the W-2 you receive from your employer by the end of January will show how much you paid into the system via the collection of payroll taxes. If you're self-employed, you report and personally pay these taxes, which are called self-employment taxes. These taxes help fund future Social Security benefits. However, many people have no idea when they can expect to receive Social Security in the future. To avoid uncertainty, get in the habit of checking your Social Security statement annually to find out how much you contributed to the Social Security system. Additionally, based on currently law, keep track of what future benefits you might expect.
To access your statement, sign up for a mySocialSecurity account at the Social Security Administration's website,

Has your financial outlook changed during the past year?

Once you've reviewed your account balances and financial statements, your next step is to look at the entire financial picture. Taking into account your income, savings and investments, coupled with your debt load, did your finances improve over the course of the year? If not, why?

Then it's time to think about the changes you would like to make for next year. Start by considering the following questions:

·       What are your greatest financial concerns?

·       Do you need help or advice in certain areas?

·       Are your financial goals the same as they were last year?

·       Do you need to revise your budget now that you've reviewed what you've earned, saved and spent?

Ensure a stronger financial position in the New Year by using what you’ve learned about your financial — both good and bad — to set your course for a fresh start.

Perhaps an Independent Review of your Finances are on your New Year's resolutions...
Feel free in contacting, Giovanni A. Malatesta, at 817.948.0366 or