2010: Resolutions

Doug Horn

Seems the hottest topic today is whether this is “two thousand and ten,” or “twenty-ten.” My response is “twenty-ten.” While this seems uncomfortable to say for many, most likely this is because we are accustomed to saying eighteen or nineteen and the year. For almost any reference to a date in our history, it occurred in the “teen” centuries. When responding to someone as to the year you were born, the answer was always nineteen and the year and not “one thousand nine hundred and the year.” Thus, to put this question to rest, this year’s resolutions are for twenty-ten.

How many of your resolutions will be financial in nature and will they last? With the rollercoaster year or should I say years, finances should be part of the resolutions, if this area is not already part of a monthly or quarterly routine. Here are a few resolutions for consideration.

• If you are married, have children, or own real estate, you should have a current and signed Will or Trust. If not, this should be completed very soon!

• If you have recently moved to Tennessee or have not reviewed your existing Will or Trust in the last five years, it is time to dust these documents off and have them reviewed by a qualified attorney.

• Beneficiary review. Take the time to review life insurance policies, annuity contracts, work retirement plans, Wills or Trusts, retirement accounts, and any other documents which may have a beneficiary statement for the distribution of assets upon death. These should be confirmed they are up to date and in accordance with your wishes.

• If you are married and/or have children, it is time to review your life insurance policies to make sure the benefit is sufficient to replace lost income and to provide for your loved ones’ future.

• If you are over the age of 50, you should consider how you will pay for long-term care services and whether insurance is a feasible solution. The longer you wait on this issue, the less likely insurance will be a possible answer.

• Do you have sufficient assets for an emergency or loss of job? Reviewing current investments will answer whether there are assets permitting quick access for the emergency, or longer term access in the event of a job loss. Withdrawal penalties and significant tax impact is best to be avoided in the event of access. Knowing in advance, how to meet these needs will often avoid unnecessary expenses.

• Review investments and insurance to maximize efficiencies. Often one financial product may solve a variety of needs, making it far more efficient than having one financial product for each need. This can create simplicity and often reduce the overall cost of the solutions.

• Determine whether existing retirement assets and contribution rates, if you are not retired, will meet income needs through age 95.

While there may be other needs and financial areas requiring updates, taking care of this list will do wonders in getting a financial house in order. While I cannot quote any study or other authorities, my suspect is procrastination is one of the major causes for families not to obtain financial security. Waiting to get around-to-it on adding required life insurance or increasing the amounts being saved for retirement only harm you and your loved ones. Have twenty-ten be different than prior years, and resolve these and any other financial concern that may exist.

For assistance with insurance, estate planning, and managing investments, contact me at Quality Financial Concepts or one of the other Certified Financial Planners in our area. To continue a personal quest for education, you can also view our learning center on our website, www.goqfc.com. There you will find articles on a variety of topics, on-line seminars, calculators, as well as a host of other free tools.

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