Thoughts, ideas, suggestions and education from financial adviser Jim Ludwick, Founder of MainStreet Financial Planning, Inc. of Odenton, MD; Washington, DC; New York City, and Santa Barbara, CA

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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Why did summer end so fast?

Why did summer end so fast?

In the old days, summer seemed to last a lot longer.  I think it was only weeks ago that we were celebrating Memorial Day and then the Fourth of July.  Now Labor Day has come and gone and my 
“To Do” list didn’t shrink much.

“To Do” lists always seem like a good idea so we can see progress in accomplishing tasks and preparing for events.  My mother made us kids create a “To Do” list, but it was mostly chores.  Maybe that’s where I learned to rebel at “the list”.

In my Air Force days, we lived and slept with checklists -one to do list for work, one to do list for home, and two dozen Air Force checklists for critical tasks so we experienced “Zero Defects”.  It was the making of many nightmares for me since lives were at stake.

So what does have to do with financial planning, now that summer is over? A lot. 

Now is the time to plan on re-balancing your portfolio since the stock market, especially the US stock market, has been going up for the last four and a half years since March 2009.  Now is the time to take some losses, if you have any, to offset some of those gains embedded in your taxable accounts that you can take lower your future taxable amounts.  Now is the time to see if you’re on track to save enough this year.  Kick it up a notch and increase your regular savings if you need it.  Now is the time to reduce long term bond funds what will shrink when interest rates go up.

There is still time. However, don’t put it on your “To Do” list.  Put it on your calendar for a specific date and time you will do this. This is how I do things these days when I can see the value in accomplishing certain tasks.  Think of how much an hour you’re making when you save $500 or $1,000 on your taxes.  And it doesn’t take an hour folks.

Still want to put these critical tasks on a “To Do” list?  Well, it’s time to burst your bubble with a Harvard Business Review article that says they don’t work:

Nike is right. Just do it.

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