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Sage wants to get to know each client on a personal level to find out what’s their needs, wants, and personal and professional goals. He is committed and passionate to help each investor on a personal and individual basis succeed with strategy diversification that offers multiple strategies in a rules-based system, each with a different set of rules with a track record.

CHECKLIST: OPTIMIZING YOUR HAWAII RETIREMENT

1. Write Down Financial Goals

Personal financial planning is fun! Turning our life goals into intelligent financial goals for the future can be daunting at first, but the best decisions we make at a young age. The first thing you should do is write down your financial goals! I know this sounds generic, but each one of us should sit down and create a separate list of goals that pertain to your personal finances. Short term goals achieved in 1-year, medium term goals achieved in 2-5 years, and long-term goals that are completed in 5 years and beyond.

2. Create Personal Financial Statements

Once the list is created and analyzed, take action! Each person’s goals are different. Don’t stop there. Keep going and make it fun. Create personal financial statements, ratios and cash budgets to successfully attain all financial goals! Income/expense statement, balance statement, and cash flow statement. The free excel templates are very easy to understand.

3. Track Income and Expenses Daily on Your Smartphone

If that sounds intimidating and you’re not willing to put in the time, my suggestion would be to use an phone application. My go to application is DayCost on the iPhone App Store. This App allows you to add income and expense logs that create budgets for personal categories. I highly suggest you download a application to manage your day-to-day income and expenses.

4. Utilize a 401(k) Plan

If you have a 401(k) with your employer, make sure you’re utilizing this powerful retirement strategy. Most employees are automatically enrolled, but make sure you keep an eye on the savings rate and investment selections. The savings rate for most employees is too low and the default investment option may not be what’s right for your personal plan.

5. Contribute More and Qualify for a 401(k) Match

Chances are you’ve received a pay raise and your 401(k) plan may not have included an automatic escalation feature that would increase the amount your plan would save over time. Check to make sure you’re contributing the amount that you’re comfortable with based on your income and expenses. Lastly, save enough so that you qualify for a 401(k) match from your employer. If you have a waiting period or vesting schedule, be sure to educate yourself on the details for your plan. Strive for the biggest 401(k) match that you can get with your plan!

6. Open Individual Retirement Plans

After you take those steps and you’re saving money first, look at opening an individual retirement plan (IRA). Go to your local bank, brokerage company or myself to open an IRS approved IRA. A Roth IRA is a great option to open, where I can help you manage your account independently. The benefit of opening a ROTH IRA is that your contributions can grow tax-free and you can generally make withdrawals tax-free and penalty-free, after you reach 59 1/2 and the account was open for 5 years.  

7. Consolidate Multiple Accounts

If you changed jobs, you may have forgotten to consolidate your employer 401(k) plan. Make sure that you move your money to an IRA where you can control the investment selection and fees. Consider rolling over your 401(k) to an IRA, maintaining the tax benefits and controlling your account with more oversight.

8. Review Investments and Fees

The consequences of holding an account that has high fees or low performance history. Maybe you’re 401k or 403b is in an account where your former employer didn’t do a good job of negotiating the fees. And maybe you’re not in love with the options that they gave you. Well you have the option of completing a free rollover and investing in an account that’s acceptable for your risk tolerance. Whether that’s risky, conservative or anywhere in between. That way you can negotiate the fees and know the details from the start. That’s something we can talk about and discuss the companies I’m associated with. 

9. Prepare a Tax Plan

There are a lot of great CPA’s and accountants out there but a common complaint I get from people is that they’re not getting a lot from them in a planning perspective. We want to make sure that you’re planning for the next 30-40 years, not just this year. If you don’t focus on tax planning, that can be a big mistake for income planning. What if I could help you cut 20-30% off your tax bill with the right planning? I have helped many clients, and some don’t even need to change any investments, we don’t change the fees, we don’t change the rates of return. We simply implement a tax strategy. 

10. Create a Social Security Account

If you haven’t already, make sure you create a Social Security Account. The link is ssa.gov and you click on My Social Security, then you Create My Social Security Account. It’s important to verify Earnings annually.