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Bottom Line Up Front

  • A year-end financial review should include more than just comparing your assets against your debt.
  • Certain major events in life may mean you should revisit your financial goals and strategies.
  • Using our year-end financial checklist could give you a better picture of your financial health.

Time to Read

7 minutes

Ever been so caught up with day-to-day needs that you put off other things that may need your attention? One thing lots of people postpone is reviewing their overall finances. But, knowing where you stand is important to your long-term financial health and independence. The end of the year is a perfect time to get your financial house in order, so you’re ready for the upcoming one.

Start With Your Circumstances

Faced any big changes in the last year? Certain events in life may mean you need to change your financial strategy, adjust your financial goals and how you handle your assets. A financial advisor can help you decide on next steps.

Have you recently experienced an event like one of these?

  • Change in marital status
  • Financing a home
  • Changing or losing a job
  • Caring for a loved one
  • Losing a loved one
  • Adding a child to the family
  • Saving for education
  • Receiving an inheritance or settlement
  • Retiring or considering retirement
  • Becoming disabled

Use a Year-End Financial Checklist

A year-end review should include more than just comparing your assets against your debt.

  • Review Savings
    You’ll be off to a good start if you review how much you have in savings, certificates and money markets. Could you cover at least 3 to 6 months or more of monthly obligations if you lost your income?
  • Analyze Debt
    Look for ways to free up money to save for the future and to improve cash flow. For example, you may want to consider transferring high-interest debt to a personal loan, credit card or a home equity loan with a lower interest rate. If there are better terms and lower rates available, it also may make sense to refinance your mortgage, car or student loans.
  • Consider Life Insurance Needs
    Do you have enough coverage? If you don’t currently have a life insurance policy, is there someone who depends on your income who would need financial help if something happened to you? If you’re not sure where to begin to get coverage, check out our affordable options.
  • Check Retirement Accounts
    Because retirement accounts (e.g., 401(k), IRA, Thrift Savings Plan) provide a number of tax advantages, they can be a powerful saving and investing tool. If you haven’t contributed to a retirement account or haven’t contributed the maximum allowable, do it now.

Don’t have a retirement account yet? Our retirement interest calculator shows how much your retirement account could earn. Here’s a snapshot of 2 of the most popular types.

Traditional IRAs feature tax-deferred growth, which means you won’t pay taxes until you withdraw the money. That can be a great advantage because most people will be in a lower tax bracket after they retire, so they can expect to pay less tax. And, your contributions may be tax deductible.

Roth IRAs. With a Roth IRA, you make your contributions after you’ve paid taxes (from your net paycheck). You can’t deduct them on your tax return, but when you start making withdrawals, you won’t pay taxes because you’ve already paid them.

If you’re still uncertain which type would work best for you, a financial advisor can help.

  • Find Extra Funds
    Do you have any extra money each month that you could put to work? Have you considered a side gig to bring in more income? Consider putting these extra funds in an account that will allow it to grow, like an investment account.
  • Consider Investments
    Already have an investment account? Ask yourself these questions:
  • Is my portfolio still aligned with my investment strategy?
  • Has my risk tolerance changed?
  • Do I need to adjust my asset allocation?
  • Does my portfolio need rebalancing?

Haven’t begun investing?
It has the most potential to grow your funds over the long term. You don’t need a lot of money to get started. You can invest a little at a time. Not confident you know enough? There are investing apps and services available that can do the hard work for you, like Navy Federal’s Digital Investor.

  • Create or Review Your Estate Plan
    Does your current plan need to be revised? It may help to talk it over with a financial advisor. It also would be a good time to have your will reviewed for needed updates.

Don’t have a will? Consult an attorney or check out online templates that may work for your circumstances.


Get Help With Your Year-End Financial Review

It can be complicated to do a comprehensive review of your finances. That’s why you may need to consult a professional. Here’s how Navy Federal Investment Services can help.

  • Financial planning
  • Retirement and education planning
  • Managed accounts
  • Investment advice
  • Investing options
  • Annuities
  • Estate planning and creating wills and trusts
  • Life, disability and long-term care insurance

No-Cost Consultation with a Financial Advisor. Whether you’re looking for planning services or investment advice, our financial advisors are available at more than 150 branches or by phone. We’ll take a comprehensive look at your total financial picture and compare it to your goals and risk tolerance. Then we’ll help you develop a long-term strategy. You can find an advisor near you by visiting our advisor locator page.

Trust and Will Creation. If you want a simple solution and don’t want to consult an attorney, the online self-service templates from our partner, Trust & Will, are easy to use. They’re currently offering Navy Federal members 20 percent off any estate plan.

Trust and Estate Plan Management. Our partner, Members Trust Company, will work with you to help you manage your trust and estate plan. If you want to consult an attorney and aren’t sure where to start, they can connect you to someone in your area.

Life Insurance. Our partner, Covr, can help you find an affordable policy that works best for your circumstances. Compare quotes from top-rated companies, and apply in just minutes. Need AD&D? Our partner, TruStageTM, can help you find coverage with no health questions or medical exams.

Investing Tool. Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned pro, our low-cost online investing tool gives you choices. You can choose and manage your own investments, use one of our prebuilt bundles or use our automated service. Plus, you can try it out with a 30-day free trial.


Navy Federal Financial Group, LLC (NFFG) is a licensed insurance agency. Non-deposit investments, brokerage, and advisory products are only sold through Navy Federal Investment Services, LLC (NFIS), a member of FINRA/SIPC and an SEC-registered investment advisory firm. NFIS is a wholly owned subsidiary of NFFG. Insurance products are offered through NFFG and NFIS. These products are not NCUA/NCUSIF or otherwise federally insured, are not guaranteed or obligations of Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU), are not offered, recommended, sanctioned, or encouraged by the federal government, and may involve investment risk, including possible loss of principal. Deposit products and related services are provided by NFCU. Digital Investor offered through NFIS. Financial Advisors are employees of NFFG, and they are employees and registered representatives of NFIS. NFIS and NFFG are affiliated companies under the common control of NFCU. Call 1-877-221-8108 for further information.

Navy Mutual Aid Association, Covr Financial Technologies, LLC / MFG Group, Inc., and TruStage Insurance are not owned by Navy Federal Financial Group, LLC or Navy Federal Credit Union. Life insurance coverages are written through non-affiliated insurance companies. NFFG and/or NFIS receives a commission or royalty fee for insurance sales written though non-affiliated insurance companies. Trust and Will documents and services are made available to Navy Federal members through Trust & Will. Navy Federal is in no way responsible for any products or services provided by or through Trust & WIll or their affiliates, subsidiaries, and company partners. Navy Federal Financial Group enables this  program to be offered and is entitled to compensation from Trust & Will. Trust Services available through MEMBERS Trust Company. 1-855-358-7878.

This content is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.