Improving your financial wellness
Financial health is essential for leading a happy and successful life, as well as meeting your long-term goals. That's why it's important to have a plan in place to help you maintain and improve your overall financial well-being. But what steps should you take?
Here are five actions that can benefit anyone who wants to better manage their finances, grow their wealth and improve their financial peace of mind.
Build a diversified investment portfolio
Investing involves taking risks, but a diversified portfolio* helps reduce those challenges by spreading investments across different assets, such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds and more. This approach minimizes the effect of market volatility on overall performance because when one asset class falls in value, the other ones help cushion the blow and provide protection against large losses.
Even if your portfolio was balanced when you began investing, it's essential to rebalance it regularly. Rebalancing helps ensure your investments remain diversified over time. By periodically reviewing your portfolio and making adjustments, you can ensure that it still reflects your goals and objectives and the current market environment.
Max out your retirement savings
Saving for retirement is a crucial part of ensuring financial health, as it helps to provide security and peace of mind for the future. If you're not already maximizing your retirement savings, now is a good time to start.
How much you can contribute depends on the type of retirement account you have. For 2023, you can contribute:
- $6,500 to an IRA ($7,500 if you're 50 or older)1
- $22,500 to an employer-sponsored retirement account like a 401(k), 403(b), or 457 plan ($30,000 if you're 50 or older)
- 25% of your compensation or $66,000 to a SEP IRA,2 up to $66,000 to an Individual 401(k),3 or up to $15,500 to a SIMPLE IRA4 if you're self employed
Save for future education expenses with a 529 plan
A 529 plan is an educational savings account that allows parents and guardians to save money for college tuition, fees and other related expenses. The money in the account grows tax-free, meaning you won't have to worry about paying taxes on any of the account's earnings. Additionally, many states offer tax incentives for saving with a 529 plan.5
Fast fact: If you have a spouse and dependents, experts recommend you carry life insurance that's worth seven to 10 times your annual income.
While 529 plans don't have annual contribution limits, contributions to an account are considered gifts for tax purposes, so you normally want to limit your gift to the annual gift tax exclusion amount — $17,000 per person in 2023.6
However, superfunding a 529 plan allows you to contribute more than the standard annual limit. Using this strategy, you make up to five years' worth of contributions in one year while still qualifying for the annual gift tax exclusion. Due to the power of compounding, superfunding has the potential to help your child's college savings grow at a much faster rate.
Protect your loved ones with life insurance
In the event of an unexpected death or disability, life insurance builds peace of mind and security for you and your loved ones by providing financial protection to help cover expenses, such as funeral costs, medical bills, mortgages and college tuition.
According to a study by LIMRA and Life Happens, less than half (47%) of people without life insurance feel financially secure. In comparison, 68% of people with life insurance say they do feel financially secure.7
So how much life insurance do you need? It depends on your situation. If you have a spouse and dependents, one common rule of thumb is for the policy's death benefit to be seven to 10 times your annual income.8
However, families can benefit from having a non-working spouse insured — especially if they have children. After all, even though stay-at-home parents don't bring home a paycheck, they support their families in other ways. If that spouse passes away, the surviving spouse may have to hire out duties performed by the stay-at-home parent, such as childcare, house cleaning, grocery shopping, meal prepping, yard maintenance and other household tasks.
According to Forbes, most insurers recommend a policy for a nonworking spouse that's worth 75% to 100% of the employed spouse's death benefit.9
Get professional advice when needed
Many of the above strategies are doable on your own. Still, you can reduce uncertainty and gain confidence in your financial future by getting professional advice for estate planning, investing and tax planning.
A Synovus financial advisor can also help you make informed decisions about where to invest your money, how to maximize returns and help you develop a plan to pass assets along to heirs. In conjunction with your tax advisors, they can also help with tax planning strategies that help you hold on to more of your wealth.
The key to achieving financial well-being is taking the proper steps now to set yourself up for success in the future. By following these tips, you can perhaps be on the proper road toward your family being well-protected and financially secure.
*Diversification does not ensure against loss.
Important disclosure information
This content is general in nature and does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.
IRS.gov, “401(k) limit increases to $22,500 for 2023, IRA limit rises to $6,500," updated December 8, 2023, accessed March 14, 2023.Back
IRS.gov, “SEP Plan FAQs," updated January 5, 2023, accessed March 14, 2023.Back
IRS.gov, "One-Participant 401(k) Plans," updated October 27, 2022, accessed March 16, 2023.Back
IRS.gov, "Retirement Topics - SIMPLE IRA Contribution Limits,"updated October 26, 2023, accessed March 16, 2023.Back
FinAid.org, “State Section 529 Deductions," accessed March 14, 2023.Back
IRS.gov, “What's New – Estate and Gift Tax," updated December 20, 2022, accessed March 14, 2023.Back
Life Happens, “2022 Insurance Barometer Study Reveals the Secret to Financial Security is Owning Life Insurance," published April 25, 2022, accessed March 14, 2023.Back
CNN Money, “How big should my life insurance policy be?" accessed March 14, 2023.Back
Penny Gusner, "Why Stay-at-Home Parents Need Life Insurance," Forbes Advisor, updated August 16, 2022, accessed March 16, 2023.Back
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