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Everyone should have some sort of financial plan. But it doesn’t have to be complicated, and it doesn’t have to be a lot of work.
At minimum, here are the 7 fundamentals a basic financial plan should include:
When it comes to budgeting, the old saying, “If you fail to plan, plan to fail,” rings true. It’s hard to control your spending and saving if you don’t track and direct where your money should go. There are many tools available online or in smartphone apps to make budgeting as simple or complex as you want it. The best budget is a lot like the best diet or exercise plan – it’s the one you can stick to.
Financial advisors typically recommend keeping three to six months’ worth of expenses, or an emergency fund of at least $1,000, in an easily accessible savings account.
If your company offers a 401(k) plan, take advantage of it. Saving for retirement is very important, and contributing toward a 401(k) plan is a way for you to easily save for your future. Contribute as much as you comfortably can while meeting your other financial obligations – with a minimum goal of maximizing matching contributions from your employer. If you don’t have an employer-sponsored retirement savings plan, open an IRA (individual retirement account) to grow your money faster with tax-deferred earnings.
Life is unpredictable. While you don’t want to spend your life worrying about what might happen, it is important to be prepared. Insurance can help you prepare for the what-ifs in life.
A solid financial plan includes more than health insurance, auto insurance and homeowners insurance. You should also consider life insurance to protect your family or business during your working years and long-term care insurance, which helps cover the costs of assisted living, nursing home, or in-home care.
A will is the most basic way to plan for your estate. It provides a framework for planning funeral arrangements, distribution of your belongings, guardians for minor children and appoints a personal representative to see that your assets are distributed appropriately.
A will can also create a trust to hold assets and instruct a trustee as to how to administer and distribute those assets. A trustee may be appointed to manage assets for beneficiaries, until the beneficiaries are responsible enough to manage the assets on their own.
It is important to note that a will does not replace the need to name beneficiaries and transfer on death directions for your financial and retirement accounts.
A health-care directive appoints someone to make health care decisions on your behalf if you are not able to do so.
A financial power-of-attorney appoints someone to make financial decisions if you are unable to act, such as if you’re on vacation, in another country or in the hospital.
Our experts are more than willing to help you make sure your financial plan is solid. Schedule an appointment today to get started.
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