- Update your Business Plan
Annual planning can help you survive and thrive. Evaluate the source of your money and where it goes, by looking at the last 12-24 months of your financial reports. Set long and short term goals for 2016. Be specific and attach numbers to each goal. Prioritize ideas and choose the actions you’ll take in 2016. This will give you an action plan for 2016, and get your year off to a great start!
- Incorporate your Business
Operating a business in one’s personal name invites trouble. Personal liability for business risks makes your non-exempt personal assets available to business creditors. Also, deductions for corporate expenses are often an added benefit.
- Protect your Personal Assets through Reorganization
Personal assets can be held in separate legal entities which create barriers for creditors or claimants in law suits. Why hold property in ways that make you an easy target?
- Review Your Insurance Coverage
Think about the ways you could be liable for a claim. The list would include a car wreck, property damage, business mistakes, product failure, physical injury or illness, and of course, death. While we are all subject to such occurrences, every situation is different. Evaluate your circumstances with your age, your dependents and financial condition in mind.
- Protect your Business Records
No one knows your business like you do. Whether for purposes of tax reporting, collections, defending your actions or leaving something other than chaos for your heirs, it makes good sense to organize and maintain proper records for your business and personal activities. It is also necessary to take steps to protect your records, especially those kept on computers.
- Make a will
A properly drawn will, identifying your chosen beneficiaries, is the easiest and least expensive method of transferring your property at death. Alternative approaches such as living trusts, while fine in theory, are typically expensive to set up and require ongoing attention throughout life.
- Execute a Power of Attorney
There is no need for a Power of Attorney if you never become incapacitated, never travel beyond reach of a phone, fax or email, never encounter a situation when you need or desire to have someone else take action on your behalf. Unfortunately, no one can predict when he or she will encounter one or more of these circumstances.
- Execute a Directive to Physicians
Take the burden off your love ones. Don’t leave them guessing about your wishes. Furthermore, it can save your love ones from disputes with health care providers that may be acting more in their best interest than your personal and family welfare.
- Execute a Medical Power of Attorney
If you are unable to make medical treatment decisions for yourself, who do you trust to make them? Providing such authority to a spouse, family member or trusted friend can insure that you are given proper treatment consistent with your personal wishes. It can also serve to avoid unduly expensive or unnecessary treatment.
- Review Bank Account Records to Determine What Happens in Case of Death
Bank account documentation identifies the owner of each account and the relationship between multiple owners. These provisions also dictate what happens at the death of the owner. Be sure you are aware of how each of your accounts is set up. You might be in for a surprise!
- Check Beneficiary Designations on your Insurance Policies and Investments Accounts
Being certain that these important designations are as you desire can give you peace of mind and avoid a tragic mistake.
- Get a Medical Check-Up
Many lives are saved and many more are extended due to a routine checkup. Serious conditions are sometimes (a symptomatic) and require testing for detection. Don’t assume you are fine just because you are not in pain. This is especially important for persons over fifty years of age.
- Save 10% of your Income each Month
Riches quickly gained and sometimes quickly lost. While that may or may not be the case in every situation, it pays to focus on saving routinely. Put something away from every pay check. Make it a habit and you will be surprised at the way your savings will grow. It may also change your attitude toward spending.
- Pay Off Your Debts
The old saying that the borrower is the servant of the lender could not be truer. Debt and all the things that go along with it can be a huge source of anxiety. While it may not be possible to pay cash for everything, it is wise to adopt a general philosophy that unless you can pay cash for it, you should not buy it!
- Spend More Time with Your Family
At the end of life, no one ever thinks that they should have spent more time at the office. Be there for the ones that matter the most now!
- Set Personal and Business Goals for 2016
Goals create a road map for actions. The better our actions, the better our lives are.