The Gift That Keeps on Giving

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The holiday season is upon us, which means gift shopping, visiting family members and planning for end of the year events. It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday mayhem year after year, and before you know it too many years could pass while you put off planning for your financial future.

We live in a fast-paced, high-energy society that is constantly on the move and always looking for shortcuts. As a result, certain aspects of our lives are often put on hold until a more convenient time when life isn't so hectic. The fact of the matter is that life is always busy and sometimes we have to force ourselves to pay attention and take care of the important things now, so that we won't pay the price down the road.

This holiday season, consider giving yourself the gift that keeps on giving and can’t be wrapped. What is that you ask? It is the gift of confidence in your financial future. The first step to getting yourself financially prepared for the future is to take some time to slow down and really examine how your situation looks now and determine where you want it to be when it comes time to retire. This will provide you the opportunity to establish goals and figure out the ways to achieve them. For some women, this is easier said than done.

Are you someone who is willing to let your spouse do the dirty work when it comes to your financial and retirement planning? Well, now may be a good time to grab control of your financial future. Take an active role in your finances. Help yourself and help your spouse while you’re at it.

A recent survey reports that only 21% of women feel that they are "on track" when it comes to the progress of planning and saving for retirement and 43% feel that they are “a lot behind schedule,” which is even more startling.* Furthermore, only 10% of women are “very confident” they will have enough money to live comfortably throughout their retirement years.* Are you one of them?

If so, it’s never too late to begin the journey to financial confidence and the retirement you desire. It boils down to how dedicated you are to sticking with your investment strategy over the long-term.

These days, volatile market conditions and unpredictable economic times can be overwhelming to those individuals thinking about investing; therefore, it is important to enlist an investor coach who will guide you in the proper direction to ultimately achieve your goals.

Having an understanding of your investment goals and strategies will give you more confidence to stick with your long-term plan. An investor coach will be there to keep you on track when market conditions might propel you to make irrational decisions that will negatively impact your investment strategy and damage your retirement portfolio.

What steps can you take to get your financial house in order during the holidays?

* Check your portfolio allocation. Investments you held in the beginning of the year could have shifted due to market fluctuations. Now may be a good time to rebalance back to your targets.

* Stay properly diversified. It’s important to have a properly diversified portfolio. Don’t make long-term investment decisions based on short-term market conditions.

* Review your estate plan. Life changes are a part of getting older, so it’s crucial to make sure you adjust your estate plan accordingly. Not being properly prepared could leave your family with unexpected financial burdens.

* Set a holiday budget. It’s easy to get caught up in a gift buying frenzy, but it’s important to remember to live within your means. Taking on unmanageable debt can really hurt an investor’s ability to save for retirement in the future.

* Stay long-term oriented. Remember, you only get one chance at retirement. Stay focused on the road ahead and don’t try to time the market or make irrational decisions when it comes to your investments.

Achieving financial independence can be difficult at times, but it’s important to educate yourself enough to ignore any temptations or challenges you may face throughout the years. Maintaining confidence in your investment strategy is often the key to overcoming these challenges, even in the most difficult times. It's always helpful to have a coach in your corner to influence your decisions and point out where you've forgotten the lessons you've already learned.

You deserve the peace of mind that comes with financial confidence and independence. So, go ahead and give yourself that gift this holiday season!