Improve Your Financial Health Now! 20 steps to better finances.

Let's face it.  Financial planning, budgeting, etc.. is not fun for most of us.  It is hard work, sometimes comes up with answers we don't want to hear, and can be downright baffling.

That's why it's good to have a friend in the business!  We at Strategic Financial Planning can help you with any or all of the topics below.  We provide this list to help you think of your plan and to allow you a jumpstart on those you feel comfortable addressing.

Call us if you have any questions or if you need help.

Remember, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step!

  • Develop a budget - We believe this is the single most important step to understanding then achieving your financial goals and objectives.  Write it down!  Once you understand where the money goes, you can take control. Don’t forget to include savings in your budget!
  • Document your net worth. Make a list of what you own (assets) and what you owe (liabilities). The difference is your net worth. Reviewing your net worth each year can be a measure of your accomplishments toward financial goals like retirement or education.
  • Take advantage of free money if your employer offers a matching contribution in your retirement plan. But, don’t assume you only need to save enough to qualify for the matching amount, your situation may be different.
  • Tax savings – now or later? Research the different retirement savings vehicles to see which one is the best for you and your family. Is a Roth IRA better than a Traditional IRA? How about a SEP or a SIMPLE?
  • Compounding is a powerful tool but it takes time to work. Save early and often to allow opportunity to take advantage of the potential benefits.
  • Many folks will experience a retirement of 20-30 years. Will you have enough so that you don’t run out of stuff before you run out of life?
  • If you’re already retired are you following your plan? Do you need to get a part-time job? Establish a gifting program? Create strategies to increase your investment income? Take less risk?
  • Diversification doesn’t mean owning six different large cap stocks. How does your asset allocation look?
  • Some of the old rules of thumb may not be appropriate any more because we’re living longer and consequently need for our money to work longer. When was the last time you reviewed you plan?
  • What are the risks you face? Living too long? Dying too soon? Spending time in a nursing home? Dealing with a chronic illness? Review your insurance needs - life, long-term care, major medical.
  • Consider an HSA (Health Savings Account) if one is available to you.
  • Protect your largest asset – your ability to make a living. Review your disability insurance coverage.
  • Protect yourself adequately against the loss of your home and/or its contents. Make sure you have enough coverage. If you do not have an umbrella liability policy, it is an excellent idea to talk to a property and casualty agent to see if it is suitable for your situation.
  • Alternatively, can you save money by increasing the deductible on your home or automobile coverage?
  • You can borrow for education but you cannot borrow for your retirement.
  • Education is very expensive. And, planning for it is confusing. FAFSA? 529? UGMA? UTMA? Many states now have tax advantages to their residents for their participation in certain education savings plans. 
  • Plan your estate - decide who gets what and when they get it.  Remember your beneficiary designations control who gets what – not your will.
  • Review your will, power of attorney, health care power of attorney and living will. If you don’t have these important documents, you should plan to see an estate planning attorney soon to determine any documents you may need.  In many situations, you may be allowing the court system to make decisions you’d prefer to make. 
  • Conduct a family meeting - people make assumptions all the time.  "Oh, I'll be able to move into Joey's house when funds get tight."  If Joey and his family are not part of the discussion, this may not be a wise assumption. Make sure everyone is on the same page and understands your wishes.
  • Multi-generational planning - children, grandchildren and great-children. It’s never too early for children to learn the fundamentals of money – saving, spending, charity.

The opinions voiced are for general information only.  They are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual and do not constitute an endorsement by NPC.  Diversification helps you spread risk thoughout your portfolio, so investments that do poorly may be balanced by others that do relatively better.  Neither diversification nor rebalancing can ensure a profit or protect against loss.