When you find yourself in the prime of your working life, you should focus on savings, investments, and retirement planning. At this point in your life is where you are likely to have more discretionary money to spare. It’s critical to review your financial status, check the results of ongoing investments, and make adjustments as necessary. Planning is equally important as the market and economy change; you'll want to be aware of how that is affecting your financial assets. Be sure to stay up-to-date on new options and alternatives.
There are endless possibilities for how to set up your financial future, but several of the most common options are listed below. You should take the time to consider your status in each of these areas. April is the perfect time to do this each year, as you’re likely already in contact with your accountant and tax professional from just completing your taxes.
Get your will and trust in order. When the time comes, these documents determine the allocation of your financial assets. After having spent a lifetime saving, investing, and planning your finances, you want to ensure your assets end up where you want them to go. Life changes quickly, checking this at least once a year and adjusting as needed is one of the most valuable actions you can take.
Conduct a beneficiary audit. Your circle of family and close friends change over time, and some may come to an end. Reviewing the recipients you have selected on each of your accounts is something that often gets neglected after the initial set-up, but again, ensuring your hard-earned money goes to those that you select is of the utmost importance. Make sure to review this annually or when accounts or policies come up for renewal.
Get a second opinion. With ever-changing rules and regulations around finances and investing, it is in your best interest to have a professional financial advisor review your plans. They can provide tips and share best practices that may significantly improve your portfolio. As one example, filing taxes can be hard to grasp, and often understanding filing status and those items you are eligible to file, and those not can be confusing.
Avoid fraud. Unfortunately, you can be the target of scams designed to steal your identity, savings and even your retirement funds. In general, be wary of anyone who is asking for specific information about your finances. There are many choices to safeguard and lock down your identity, select the one that is right for your portfolio.
Continue planning. The goal of an annual review is to make sure you understand your current situation and to make changes if needed. Determining what you will need for the future is difficult but can be estimated with the help of online tools or experienced professionals. During your planning, don’t underestimate big expenses like long-term health care or the cost of serious illnesses.
Avoid excessive lending. As the eldest of the family, especially if you’ve done well for yourself, you may be asked by younger family members to help them out financially from time to time. While loaning money is a personal decision and will vary depending on circumstances, consider these requests carefully. Your retirement funds were intended for, well, your pension, and above all, you need to ensure there are enough funds to cover that first and foremost.
Entrust a power of attorney. Depending on your situation, you may want to grant someone power of attorney; simplifying your ongoing interaction with finances on a daily basis as it enables someone else to pay your bills on your behalf. It can provide great peace of mind knowing everything is being taken care of and you don't have to worry. Your power of attorney can help you keep your overall finances in order and minimize long-term risk.
Staying on top of your finances can help with your retirement plans, future legacy, and allow for a more enjoyable lifestyle. Just as important it is for you to have routine checkups for your emotional and physical health; it’s equally as important to stay on top of your financial health and build habits that will have you on the road to securing your financial future. The time is now - conduct your financial health check today!
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