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1. Review your progress to your financial goals
The New Year is often a time when we reflect upon where we are and where we are going. The extent to which you are achieving your financial goals should also be part of this reflection. Has your family situation changed in a way that requires an update in your financial strategy? Remember to include all of your—and your spouse’s—investment accounts in this review. If you don’t have a financial plan, this may be the time to contact MMBB and set up a time to speak with one of our Certified Financial Planner^TM^ professionals. It’s a benefit of membership. You are much more likely to achieve your plans if you have a roadmap to follow.
2. Update your personal investment policy
A key component of most year-end reviews is investment performance. Performance means different things to different people. Are you an investor focused on long-term growth or trying to maintain a portfolio that has the potential to produce current income needed to pay day-to-day living expenses? Your portfolio probably needs to evolve over time as your circumstances change. For most people this means reviewing your asset allocation in the context of your investment goals. Are you comfortable with how your current portfolio balances risk and return? Can you reasonably expect your portfolio, as currently allocated among different forms of assets, to earn a sufficient amount to achieve your goal? If not, what do you plan to change?
3. Review your portfolio’s current asset allocation
Once you review and update your asset allocation plan, you can compare it to the way that your investments are currently allocated. Your MMBB Financial Services quarterly statement includes a pie chart that shows you how your assets are allocated across different types of investments. If you (and your spouse) have other investment accounts, include them in the asset allocation review.
4. Re-balance your assets
Compare how your assets are currently allocated with how you want them to be allocated. You can easily see which allocations need to be changed. Making these changes is called “balancing your portfolio.” On the one hand, balancing your portfolio requires the sale of assets that gained the most in the prior year and purchase those that performed less well. On the other hand, this strategy encourages you to buy low and sell high.
5. Allocate assets effectively
As you rebalance, think about which assets you are putting into different accounts. This is especially important for those with more than one investment account and accounts that are not specifically for retirement. In general, consider holding assets that generate most of their returns from income or short-term capital gains in tax-deferred accounts, like MMBB’s 403(b) plans. This reduces the taxes you pay today. It also allows your portfolio to compound more effectively over time.
6. Increase your contribution to your 403(b) plan
Few of us can save enough for retirement based on employer contributions to our retirement investment accounts. In order to meet our goals, we need to contribute to a 403(b) retirement plan such as MMBB’s Member Contribution Plan. Contributing to a plan such as the Member Contribution Plan —or increasing your contribution—is also a good tax strategy. Contributions within IRS limits are tax deferred. In other words, you don’t pay taxes on them until after you retire and start taking withdrawals.
7. Set up a meeting with your financial advisor
Answering some of the questions we’ve posed or analyzing the data you’ve collected may be difficult. You may need to spend some time with your financial planner to understand the data and to develop a course of action. MMBB has Certified Financial PlannerTM professionals available to assist members as a benefit of MMBB membership. Call us at 800.686.6222 and ask to speak with a Financial Planner or send an email to Financial Planning
Consider in advance what types of information are most important to you and why. Don’t be reluctant to ask questions if you don’t understand what’s being presented to you; a little clarification now might prevent misunderstandings and unrealistic expectations that could have a negative impact in the future. Here are some questions to consider.
Taking the time to review your finances at the end of the year will increase your ability to reach your investment goals. It also gives you an early start to collecting many of the documents you will need to pay your federal, state and local taxes. If there’s one resolution you keep going into the New Year, let it be a financial review.
This change impacts the administration/processing of medical claims only. The Hartford will remain the insurance carrier. UMR will continue to handle billing, eligibility and to provide plan material. For those members with prescription coverage (which is provided by CVS Caremark), there is no change. CVS Caremark will continue to provide/administer prescription coverage.
Communications were sent from MMBB Financial Services, The Hartford and WebTPA regarding this change. A new identification card listing WebTPA as the medical claims administrator was sent by WebTPA.
If you have any questions, please call the WebTPA Customer Service at 877.480.2432 Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time.
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