2018 Financial Fitness Test
In terms of your financial planning, this means reviewing some key areas of your plan, and making sure you have a few critical pieces in good working order. Oftentimes, if you have a financial advisor, these areas will be reviewed in your regular appointments, but it's always good to ensure that, as time passes, you keep these key areas up to date.
1. Prepare or Update Your Will
If you don't have a will, it's time to create one. That can provide not only peace of mind, but also the opportunity to secure a financial future for the people you'll eventually leave behind. When you leave your money to others, you want to make sure they get as much of it as possible. You don't want it taken in taxes or other types of fees, or held up in the probate process for weeks or months. If you've already got a will, make sure it's up to date and that it reflects your truest wishes. If there are people in it you no longer want to leave money to, or there are people to add, now is the time.
2. Look at Your Insurance Policies
Insurance policies protect you and your finances, but they can also be used to protect other people. For example, you have health insurance in case you become ill or injured, but you have life insurance to pay the expenses of your family if you should pass away. Both of those insurance policies, along with the coverage you have on your house, car, and other items, need to be updated at least once per year. That way everyone who matters to you will have financial protection, and you can worry less about your personal finances, as well. Both of those are important parts of having peace of mind.
3. Make Sure Your Accounts Are Balanced
When you have money in several different types of accounts, one of the things you want to do is make sure they are balanced. That means you need to have your money spread out. Doing that can protect you from losing a lot of that money based on a problem with the stock market or a related issue. Put money in your checking and savings accounts, different IRA types and/or 401(k) accounts with your employer, invest in real estate, and consider other options. There are many ways to make sure that accounts are more balanced so your financial future is protected.
4. Review the Designations for Your Beneficiaries
All of the accounts you have where a beneficiary can be named should be updated. Whether you just need to go over them and make sure the right person is named, or whether you need to change the beneficiary, going over those accounts matters. There may even be cases where talking to your family about who should be named on certain accounts needs to be done. These types of conversations may not be easy, but they are still very important and they need to be had if there are beneficiary questions. You want any money that you would leave behind to go to the right people.
5. Check the Paperwork for Your Retirement Accounts
Not everyone has retirement accounts, but for those who do there is often quite a bit of paperwork that can come with them. Even if that "paperwork" is found online, it is still a part of the documents that are needed for those accounts. Take a look at the paperwork for all of them, and make sure the accounts are what you really want to have. If they are not performing well for you, or not keeping you on track for retirement, you may want to consider making a change. By choosing different accounts, you may be able to improve the value of your accounts and make sure your retirement stays well-funded and on track.
You already know, as a David's Family Finance reader, that financial planning is a marathon, not a sprint, but it's important to not simply keep a long-term view. Make sure you have your eye on these more immediate reviews and updates to make sure your financial plan is fit for the long haul.
This content created by David Gaylor in conjunction with Fusion Capital Management.
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The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by radical promoting and their editorial staff based on the original articles written by jeff cutter in the falmouth enterprise. This article has been rewritten for David Gaylorand the readers of David's Family Finance. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.