Photo Credit: Pexels This is a pivotal time of the year for finances. Perhaps even more so now, with some larger macro trends in the process of pivoting themselves. What steps should be taken to ensure financial survival and increased prosperity for the months and years ahead? Annual Review This is a great time to review your finances, investments, and plans. What's been working in your savings and investments? What hasn't worked so well over the last year? Are you on track, or where you want to be? We can make dramatic changes and improvements from one year to the next if we plan accordingly. We can developed new aspirations, begin new relationships, increase our family size, and/or have health challenges that require our attention. This makes it important to review our financial plans, and ensure they are still in alignment with our needs and goals. Recalculate, and note any gaps that need to be tackled. Exit & Liquidate There could be assets in your portfolio that have matured or peaked. Or they have become subject to new tax rules. This may be especially true of some real estate in big American cities like San Francisco, Miami, and New York. Resist the urge to just hang on to them. Liquidate to avoid losses, or eroding performance. In some cases, this may be quick and easy, in others it may be a process which can take months. Maximize Retirement Investment Account Contributions Taxes are a big part of investing and overall financial plans. They can make a huge difference in how fast your wealth can grow. This can sometimes make tax protected retirement investment plans a great move. Of course, that also depends on what you invest in with that money, and its protection from downside risk, and the net returns. Maximizing your annual allowable contributions to RRSPs and IRAs, and looking for alternative assets like real estate which qualify can definitely put the tax rules on your side. Find New Investments After the above, it's time to find investments that are better suited for the year/s ahead. Don't just look for the hot thing of the moment. Specifically look for investments that match your personal goals and timelines, and that can offer both wealth preservation and growth. As a part of this; be sure you are selecting the right asset management team. One which is experienced, ahead of the curve, but reliable, and has interests aligned with yours. Summary This time of year is an important one for reviewing finances and investments. Check out your performance, alignment with current and future goals, and be prepared to make plans to restructure if necessary. Then look for smart investments that minimizes taxes, as it often comes down to the execution of the opportunity to make the forward leaps you want to see with your investments.