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10 Things to Tell Your Financial Professional

Posted by Shanna Tingom, AAMS® on Mar 8, 2016 6:21:35 PM

At Heritage Financial Strategies, it is my mission to make money fun for my clients. I want you to understand how financial decisions impact your short and long term goals both positively and negatively. In order to do that, we review and discuss your financial portfolio including these ten things:

  1. Accurate amount of debt. No one likes to talk about debt so let’s start by saying we’re developing a plan for your future, not a list of reasons why you have debt. It’s okay to have it as long as you have a plan to pay it back otherwise it impacts your ability to save for life events like wedding, buying a house, and retirement.
  2. True accounting of assets. Tell your financial professional about all of your income and assets including real estate, pensions, retirement savings, stocks, and bonds.
  3. Total non-retirement savings. Don’t forget the basic checking and savings accounts. There are times when it makes sense to leave cash in a low yield account but often it’s better off invested for longer term or better return.
  4. How much you’ve saved for retirement. Most people haven’t saved enough for retirement but it’s never too late to start (or restart) saving. Options include an employer sponsored plan, Roth IRA, or traditional IRA. If you’ve changed jobs, make sure you have access to your retirement plan from your former employer so we can review and see if it’s time to move funds to a traditional IRA.
  5. Type and amount of insurance you have. This is especially important if you have a mortgage and/or children. If you need two incomes to cover household expenses, you also need insurance to cover income should one of you be unable to work due to illness, injury, or death
  6. You don’t have a will, living will, or estate. Knowing what happens to your money after you die or in the event you become incapacitated will save your family time, money, and stress. Even if you think you don’t have a lot of assets, it’s worth talking to an estate planning attorney to understand your options.
  7. Named beneficiaries on investment and insurance accounts. Not only is it important to have beneficiaries named, you should have the correct people named. All too often I see divorced clients who still have their ex-spouse named as beneficiary. That means if they were to pass away, their ex would get their savings, probably not what they’d want to happen.
  8. Spending habits. Track your monthly spending for a few months to see what you spend on rent or mortgage, utilities, groceries, dining out, and other activities. This will help us understand how you want your retirement to look so we can gauge for inflation and save enough for your desired lifestyle.
  9. Risk tolerance. I have tools to help us figure out what type of risk taker you are so we can develop an investment plan that’s comfortable for you. If you’re a high risk taker, we’d invest your money differently that if you’re a moderate risk taker, for example.
  10. Short and long term financial goals. Ask yourself where you see yourself financially in three, five, ten, or twenty years. We’d have a different plan if you’re wanting to retire in 10 years than if you wanted to retire in 20 years or if you want to buy a house in the next five years versus 10 years.

To develop a financial plan that’s right for you, it’s important for your financial professional to have a clear picture of your short and long term goals as well as your current financial situation.

Are you ready to get started? Make an appointment with Heritage Financial Strategies today!