The second half of 2011 officially began on Friday. Yes, time does fly, and the second half of the year frequently passes faster than the first. Beaches, barbeques and rejuvenation times dominate the summer months, and that is a good thing. But just like you don't stop your workouts or other routines, you shouldn't stop paying attention to your personal finances.

The second half of 2011 officially began on Friday. Yes, time does fly, and the second half of the year frequently passes faster than the first. Beaches, barbeques and rejuvenation times dominate the summer months, and that is a good thing. But just like you don't stop your workouts or other routines, you shouldn'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 based on 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.


The things you can control should be on your mind as we go into our halftime break for 2011. 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 401(k) 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 2010, but you should be thinking about 2011 now.  Particularly for business owners and families with net worth of more than $10 million, there are specific planning opportunities that are set to close in 18 months or less.


You also control planning for your disability or your death. 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 in these tragic situations. Did you update your estate documents, or are you now breathing easy on the sidelines because Congress last year gave you another 24-month pass? Did you make an application for long-term care, disability or life insurance?


Most people hate talking about this topic, and don't 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. 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.


John P. Napolitano is the CEO of U.S. Wealth Management in Braintree, Mass. He may be reached at jnap@uswealthcompanies.com.