By Bill Taber
As they say, the only certainty in life is uncertainty. There’s no denying that we’ve all experienced a lot of change over the past few years, and there’s no telling what’s to come next.
If all these ups and downs have made you uncertain about your financial future, you aren’t alone. As we navigate continually uncertain times, here are five money moves you can make to feel a little more prepared for whatever comes next.
1. Strengthen Your Emergency Fund
As the old proverb says: “Prepare the umbrella before it rains.” Building an emergency fund is the same as preparing the umbrella—it is the foundation of financial preparedness. Generally, you should have enough money to cover a minimum of 3-6 months of basic living expenses (mortgage, utilities, groceries, etc.).
With all stock market uncertainty and recession fears, many experts have suggested maintaining a larger emergency fund closer to 6-12 months of expenses. If you’re single, or your household only has one source of income, consider saving on the higher end of this scale to make sure you’re covered in the event of a job loss or reduction in income.
This money should be held in a highly liquid account so that it is readily available should an emergency occur. Look for an account that offers a competitive interest rate. You worked hard for that money, now put it to work for you.
2. Watch Your Spending
If the emergency fund is the umbrella, then budgeting and tracking expenses are the sturdy rain boots you wear when the storm clouds come rolling in. Tracking spending is a highly productive habit that you can develop. Software and online apps are readily available to assist you with the process.
Once you have a good idea of where you currently spend money, you can begin to build a budget around where you want your money to go. This can be modified as needed as time goes by and life changes so that you are better prepared to withstand potential fluctuations in income.
3. Manage Risk
Risk management is a great way to safeguard what you’ve already built. Unmanaged risk can mean the difference between maintaining an ample emergency fund or not having enough when you need it the most.
Be sure to review your insurance policies, taking care to bring them up to adequate coverage levels. This should include life, health, auto, and homeowners’ insurance at a minimum, but disability, umbrella liability, and long-term care coverage should be considered as well. These risks are often overlooked and can be devastating to a financial plan. Making sure you are adequately covered now will save you time, money, and energy in the future.
4. Evaluate Your Investment Allocation
Investment allocation and risk tolerance are important factors to consider when assessing financial preparedness. If your investment allocation does not align with your risk tolerance, it can lead to unwise investment decisions.
It’s common for people to feel worried when they see their investment values fall during a financial crisis, but a properly diversified investment allocation specifically tailored to your level of risk tolerance can alleviate quite a bit of the stress surrounding market volatility. This helps to keep you invested through the downturns so that you can benefit from the upswing when the market eventually recovers. In this case, “stay the course” is tried-and-true advice, especially if you have a long time frame before retirement and a sufficient emergency fund to get you through difficult times.
5. Partner With a Financial Advisor
It’s always wise to enlist the help of a professional who can provide objective advice, especially in times of uncertainty. At TABER Asset Management, we specialize in helping entrepreneurs and business owners plan for their financial future. Our unique approach allows us to provide a customized plan for each and every client, and through our trusted relationship, we answer your financial questions. Get started today by scheduling a 15-minute intro phone call online or reaching out to us at 515-557-1860 or email@example.com.
Bill Taber is President and Founder of TABER Asset Management, an independent, fiduciary wealth management firm that strives to do one thing well: manage their clients’ money by creating wealth, building wealth, growing income, and preserving capital so they can experience financial freedom. With more than four decades of experience, Bill is dedicated to building relationships with his clients and their families and walking alongside them as they navigate financial decisions. His favorite days are the ones when he gets to witness the joy and relief on his clients’ faces when they realize they can pursue their dreams and live their ideal lifestyles. Bill is known for going the extra mile, getting things done with integrity, and working with a stewardship mentality.
Bill graduated from the University of Iowa with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and fell in love with the profession when he got to help one of his first clients—his father—turn his lifetime of hard work into a dream retirement. He got his start in the industry as a corporate services representative for Bankers Trust Company and spent decades working as Assistant Vice President of E.F. Hutton & Co. and First Vice President of Principal Financial Securities. He is also a graduate of the E-Myth Worldwide Mastery Business Development Program and is Series 65 registered.
In his spare time, Bill enjoys giving back to his community and served 11 years as a member of the Board of Trustees of Broadlawns Medical Center and 14 years as a Community Representative to their Board Finance Committee. He is also one of the founding members of the Greater Des Moines Connections Mentoring Program. When he’s not working, you can often find Bill spending time with his family and participating in one of his many hobbies, which include traveling to national parks, presidential libraries, and foreign countries; gardening; reading non-fiction; and practicing yoga, Pilates, and meditation. He also loves the simple joys of listening to music, going for walks or bike rides, and watching James Bond 007 films and any movie starring his favorite actress, Meryl Streep. To learn more about Bill, connect with him on LinkedIn.