People's United Bank Vice President John Conlon talks about starting the year out right when it comes to your personal finances.
Q: I understand that you have some advice as to how to start the New Year out?
A: This is a great time of year for people to take time and meet with their financial advisors. By now people are receiving reports and statements and tax information regarding 2013, giving them a solid picture of how their investments performed, the income they've received, and the capital gains that were generated, among other information. So this is a good opportunity to see how your financial plan is performing relative to your goals and to update your advisors as to any changes that have occurred and changes that you are anticipating for the year ahead.
Q: What types of changes?
A: Perhaps you have a child that will be graduating high school in the spring and entering college in the fall and will need to raise some extra cash. It could be that you've set a date to retire and that is going to change you income needs. Normal life events that people take somewhat for granted. The further out, however, that you can plan for them the less disruptive they will be to your overall financial plan and the better your advisor can plan and make adjustments to your investments.
Q: Anything else?
A: Yes, it is also a good time to set expectations for the coming year. Life changes and changes in the financial markets can lead to changes in what to expect in the coming year. For instance, last year we had a very strong stock market where the S & P was up over 30 percent. It is not realistic to believe that that will necessarily happen again in 2014. You do not want to be looking at the gains that you enjoyed last year and operate under the impression and plan that you have the same types of gains this year. This is a good time of year to make sure that your advisor and you are working with the same set of expectations. The better the communication the less chance there is for disappointment.