2020 brought a lot of uncertainty with the pandemic and, for some, job loss. And that might have led you to use debt to get by or tap into your savings or investments. If you had to pause making progress toward your financial goals, the good news is there are ways to get back on track.
Restock your emergency fund.
Emergency savings help protect against unexpected expenses and/or loss of income. Rightly so, you probably headed straight to these funds to get you through any ups and downs you may have experienced last year. Once you've recovered, focus on building this back up to three to six months of your monthly expenses. Even relatively small amounts of savings can help create financial stability.
Tackle your debt.
You may have more debt than ever right now, but don't be discouraged. Determine how much debt you have and where it's coming from (credit cards, student loans, car payment, etc.), and then make a plan to pay it down, starting with the highest interest rate debt first.
Repay coronavirus-related distributions.
If you had to make the tough decision to take money out of a 401(k) or IRA in 2020, it may have qualified as a coronavirus-related distribution under the CARES Act. Unlike many retirement account distributions, coronavirus-related distributions can be recontributed back into any retirement account eligible to receive a rollover for up to three years from the day after the distribution was received. Work with a tax professional to determine if your distribution qualifies, and if possible, make a plan to re-contribute these funds within the allowable time frame.
Revisit retirement contributions.
When your income and expenses don't line up like you expect them to, many freeze or cut back on their retirement contributions. If you paused your retirement contributions, consider resuming those – even 1% can make a difference over time.
Edward Jones, its employees and financial advisors cannot provide tax or legal advice. You should consult your attorney or qualified tax advisor regarding your situation. This content should not be depended upon for other than broadly informational purposes. Specific questions should be referred to a qualified tax professional.