By Novi Wealth Partners This year has been one for the books. Most, if not all of us, have experienced canceled plans, work stoppages or adjustments, complicated family decisions, and (as if that weren’t enough) financial challenges. To add to the uncertainty, we don’t know what the near future will bring in regards to COVID-19, political turmoil, and our markets. How do you prepare when there is so much unknown? How can you look ahead to 2021 when you don’t even know what next week will bring? You go back to the basics. Here are several financial actions Bristol Myers Squibb employees should take that could make all the difference as we near the end of 2020.
1. Rework Your Budget
Even if your income hasn’t been affected by COVID-19, it’s likely that your spending has. Whenever you experience life changes, it’s wise to take another look at your budget to make sure your spending is in line with your goals and shift things around to manage your priorities. For example, this year might have shown you the importance of having financial margin and now you want to double down to get rid of debt. It’s also possible that many of your daily expenses have experienced some ups and downs. You might be spending less on gas and eating out, but more on groceries, masks, and online shopping, not to mention that prices on many basic items have increased. If you have experienced income changes, make sure you factor those in and adjust your spending accordingly. Go into 2021 with a rock-solid budget that helps you feel financially secure.
2. Adjust Your Goals And Set New Ones
Don’t be afraid to set new goals for 2021. Look at your new budget and priorities and find ways to work toward your savings goals. Get creative with things you want to accomplish next year. You may not be able to take that international trip you’ve been dreaming about, but you can get your family together for a local vacation or refocus your energy on tackling a home renovation. If you’re planning to retire or make any other big financial moves, identify now what changes you can make to smooth the transition.
3. Don’t Skimp On Your Savings
If there’s one thing this year has taught us, it’s the importance of having an emergency fund. If you haven’t already, now is the time to ensure that you have enough money set aside to cover 3-6 months of necessary living expenses or unexpected extras.
And while things seem uncertain, don’t shrink back from saving for the future or try to wait things out. Consistency and compound interest make all the difference in the growth of your investments. If possible, max out your contributions to the 401(k) at Bristol Myers Squibb by the end of the year to make the most of your retirement savings. For 2020, you can contribute as much as $19,500 (or $26,000 if you are age 50 or older).
4. Check Health And Dental Plans & Use Benefits
Many of the benefits Bristol Myers Squibb offers reset at the end of the year. You work hard for these perks, so be sure to use them! At the beginning of 2020, did you have good intentions of taking care of some dental work, blood tests, or other medical procedures lingering on your to-do list?
Now’s the time to take advantage of all your healthcare needs before your deductible resets. Dental plans in particular often have a maximum coverage amount. If you haven’t used the full amount and anticipate any treatments, make it a priority to set an appointment before December 31st.
5. Review Changes For Open Enrollment
You can typically only make changes to your health and benefit plans once per year during the open enrollment period specified by Bristol Myers Squibb. Review the coverages you have in place to see if anything is changing. Look at any premium changes that may apply to your benefit selections to see if any adjustments need to be made as well.
6. Review 401(k) Investments
If you are utilizing the 401(k) plan Bristol Myers Squibb offers, now is the time to review your investments. Is your allocation appropriate for your age and stage of your career? Are you contributing enough to retire on time and achieve the lifestyle you want in retirement? See if any fund changes or updates have occurred, and check in with your financial professional to make sure your 401(k) is on track for next year and beyond.
7. Use Any Section 125 Cafeteria Benefits
You may not be able to carry over unused Section 125 cafeteria benefits into next year. For example, you’ll want to use up as much of your FSA (flexible spending account) dollars as possible by the end of the year. Rules only allow you to carry over $500 to the next plan year. Check the restrictions to see what you can use the money for, and take care of any needs your plan allows.
8. Mark Your Calendar For Next Year’s Open Enrollment
Mark open enrollment for the following year on your calendar so you can put together a game plan for any changes that need to be made. Open enrollment comes and goes quickly, so planning out any changes you want to make ahead of time will make it much easier to review and benefit plan changes and make the changes you need to make.
9. Schedule Semi-Annual Meetings With Your Financial Advisor
Schedule semi-annual check-ins with your financial advisor. Doing this will ensure you stay proactive with your plan so you will ultimately accomplish your financial goals, allowing you to enjoy the most important things in life.
If you have not consulted a financial advisor, before the year is over, seek out a financial professional who can take an objective look at your financial situation and help you take your finances to the next level regardless of what comes your way in the coming months and year. In a time of heightened emotions, dramatic headlines, and a temptation to panic, you need to know you have someone in your court watching out for your money and making sure you are on track to your ideal future.
About Novi Wealth Partners
Novi Wealth Partners is an independent, fee-only comprehensive financial planning firm dedicated to empowering clients to discover their definition of true wealth while providing the confidence to achieve it. With 20+ years of experience, we have found that most people don’t care about money, but instead, they care about what money can do for them and their loved ones. As a result, we focus on guiding our clients to find their unique vision for their life and developing a plan to help them live out their values. Our goal is to truly understand our clients on a personal level and help them navigate life’s many changes.
We are located in Princeton, New Jersey and we service clients both locally and nationally. There are four CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® practitioners in the firm, all of whom are members of the prestigious National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) and the Financial Planning Association (FPA). We prioritize a team-based approach, which allows us to deliver comprehensive financial planning, investment management, tax planning advice, retirement planning, estate planning advice, risk management advice, and concierge level wealth management. We are committed to providing each of our clients a level of service as unique as they are and we are proud, as Fee-Only™ financial advisors, to offer unbiased financial expertise. To learn more about Novi Wealth Partners or to get started on your financial journey, visit our website or connect with us on LinkedIn.