By: John P. Napolitano, CFP®, CPA, PFS, MST

This month officially begins the second half of 2018.

Yes, time does fly, and the second half frequently passes faster than the first. It is often beaches, barbeques and rejuvenation times that dominate the summer months, and that is a good thing. But just like you don’t stop your workouts, or other routines, don’t stop paying attention to your personal finances. 

Pay attention to the things that you can control. Too many people micro manage their investments and rate their overall financial success in accordance with their investment returns. And while good management and superior results may be possible by some managers some of the time, no one always gets winning years with their portfolios. We all know that past performance is not indicative of future results.

But the things that you can control should be on your mind as we go into our half time break for 2018. You can control the results of your income and expenses for the first half of the year. Did you retire debt and add to the 401K as planned? Did the college fund get its fair share of your wallet? Will you understand your expenses and income for the first half well enough to make adjustments in the second half?

Beyond your day to day cash management, how about income tax planning? Most returns are already filed for 2017, and whether you did or did not file yet, you should be thinking about 2018. Now is the time to influence your tax situation for this year, and that would start with a forecast to see how your taxes are impacted by the new tax act in effect this year. Particularly for business owners and families with net worth over $11 million, there are specific planning opportunities that you shouldn’t delay. 

You also control planning for your disability or demise. Sorry to be so blunt, but these sad realities will happen to all of us. What can be prevented, however, are the financial calamities that arise when either your incapacity or passing occurs. Did you update your estate documents, or are you still procrastinating until you find a great planner and attorney?

Did you make an application for long term care, disability or life insurance? Most people hate talking about this topic, and don’t frequently get as far as determining whether they need to do anything. That’s where you should hug your advisor if they’ve given you advice on this topic. Kiss them if they’ve prodded you to get it done. Find a new one if they don’t even talk to you about this stuff. Or get off your butt to find one and stop hiding behind these real life realities.

The last part of the equation that you control is you! You control your time, all 168 hours per week. Even though 40 or more may be committed to the office, that still leaves 128 hours per week to your discretion. Take a look at everything that you are doing and get help you’re your open items so you can focus on how you’d really like to spend these 128 hours, and enjoy the second half of 2018.

Making Cents is published in Gatehouse News Media publications such as Patriot Ledger

John P. Napolitano CFP®, CPA is CEO of U. S. Wealth Management in Braintree, MA.  Visit JohnPNapolitano on LinkedIn or uswealthnapolitano.com. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.