Having a financial plan means that you have evaluated and addressed the most important areas of your life that relate to your money. Some people are able to do this on their own; others obtain the help of an advisor; still others, neglect having a financial plan or aren’t even sure what areas they should address. Life is busy, fast moving and the weeks and months seem to go by quicker and quicker. Many people have good intentions of having a solid plan in place, but just never get around to it.
Some components of your plan should include accumulating assets (i.e. saving, investing, retirement planning), while others will be focused on protecting your assets (i.e. health insurance, homeowner’s insurance and other forms of this usually necessary “evil”.). Lastly, you need to have a plan for how to transfer your assets following your death.
Here are the components of a solid financial plan in an approximate order of priority for most people (although exceptions certainly apply):
- Cash Management
- Emergency Fund
- Health Insurance
- Homeowner’s/Renter’s Insurance
- Auto Insurance
- Disability Insurance
- Life Insurance
- Long Term Care Insurance
- Umbrella Liability Insurance
- Power of Attorney
- Living Will
- Saving for Retirement/Generating Income In Retirement
- Proper Titling of Assets
- Beneficiary Designations (including TOD and POD)
- Debt Management
- Investment Objective/Policy Statement
- List of websites used, passwords and user ID’s
- Income Tax Planning
- Tax Avoidance
- Tax Minimization
- Tax Deferral
- Income Shifting (to lower income tax brackets)
- Charitable Giving
- Teach Children/Grandchildren about Money
- Protecting your assets with irrevocable trusts, LLC’s or other tools for minimizing the risk of loss to creditors and predators.
*Our attorneys and financial advisors can assist you with the items in bold print.
You should know and monitor annually:
- your net worth
- whether you have sufficient life insurance
- whether your investments are properly diversified
- what your assets are projected to grow to based on how your money is invested and the effect of inflation
- how likely you are to achieve goals such as, generating a certain monthly income in retirement, funding a child or grandchild’s education, or leaving a certain amount of assets to heirs when you pass away.