Larry Ynman - Wealth Management
Your Financial Roadmap
People do not plan to fail; they fail to plan. This may be an overused phrase, but it is still a reality for many individuals and business owners. Whether it is planning for retirement or succession planning for your business, it is imperative that you have a customized roadmap in place to achieve your goals.
For example, according to a recent report from CNBC, an Insured Retirement Institute survey found that 27% percent of baby boomers are confident they will have enough money to last through their retirement. Only six in ten boomers report having any retirement savings. Let’s stop to think about that last statement: only 60% have any savings.
No one plans or wants to be in this select group, but where do we start? In each edition, we will be discussing a particular topic regarding your personal and business needs.
The most common dilemma is how to get started. What we have found to be very simple and popular is our Financial Roadmap. Just like building a house, one of the first steps is to lay your foundation.
This includes the following: budget, debt reduction, emergency fund, savings plan, will, and insurance.
Setting goals and expectations and following them allows you to lay a strong foundation, which will make building the rest of your financial home an easier process.
Start with the budget by keeping a log of all your daily expenses for at least a month. You will be surprised where you money goes. Work to spend wisely on only what you need, and you will see how this can lower your debt.
Establish an emergency fund equal to three to six months of expenses. This cash reserve should be kept in a liquid account, such as a savings account or other type of account that allows you quick, penalty- free access. As part of your budget, begin a regular savings plan with a specific amount deducted from your paycheck.
Most employers provide some type of benefits, so it is important to familiarize yourself with what your company offers. A popular benefit is a company retirement plan, such as a 401(k), SEP IRA, or SIMPLE IRA. It would be very wise to take advantage of these, especially if there is a company match toward your contribution. Contact your HR department and ask who is available to review them with you. It may be a designated employee or the insurance agent that provides these benefits. Do not be shy about asking questions!
Without a will, a probate judge could very well decide how to distribute your estate or even establish a guardian for your minor dependents. Both you and your spouse need to have a will, especially if you have a blended family. No matter the size of your estate, draft a will and make your wishes known, particularly if you have dependents.
A very important part of your foundation is a review of your insurance programs to include property and casualty insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, health insurance, and long-term care insurance. It is smart to meet with your agent at least once a year to review your policies so you have the proper coverages and a competitive premium. We find a large number of consumers are not aware of how they are protected. As you reach your 50s and 60s, long-term care insurance can be a valuable part of your retirement as health care costs can quickly deplete your savings. What you believed was enough no longer is.
Your lifestyle is the second part of your Financial Roadmap. Many consumers tend to live outside their means. Buying a home may be the most expensive purchase you make. Understand the terms of your loan, including interest rates. Just because you were approved for a certain amount, do not feel compelled to purchase a home for that amount unless the mortgage payment fits your budget.
As interest rates fluctuate, there may be an opportunity to refinance your loan to lower your payment. Also, extra payments toward the principal of your loan can shorten the length of your loan considerably. If your budget allows, make every effort to pay off your mortgage before you retire.
Avoiding credit card debt is a challenge for many consumers and can be the number one obstacle to getting ahead financially. Credit cards are the most expensive way to borrow money, and it is best to pay off the debt each month. An even better option can be to avoid credit cards entirely and use a debit card instead. This allows you to live within your means as you can spend only the amount you have in your bank account.
With identity theft so common, it is wise to check your credit history regularly. The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—to provide you with a free copy of your credit report at your request every twelve months. Many insurance companies can include identity theft coverage as part of their homeowner policies as well.
At this point we have highlighted the first two segments of the Financial Roadmap. We will continue and complete the remaining parts, Growing Your Money and Managing Your Money, in the next edition.
You may see mentioned in financial articles that consumers should adapt to living on approximately 80% of their pre-retirement income, but we feel differently. Why can’t we live on 100% or more and enjoy our retirement?
Our goal is to provide the tools and information necessary to accomplish this. Your goal will be to put a plan in place and follow it.
Should there be specific topics you would like to see addressed or if you have any questions, please email me at Larry.Ynman@sogowrm.com.
As Warren Buffet once said, "Rule No.1 is never lose money. Rule No.2 is never forget rule number one."
- Larry Ynman
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