Fresh Start To Your Finances
It’s not too late to get your finances in order for 2013. This is one of my goals this year and I’ve been working at it, slowly but surely. Getting on track can be overwhelming for many families, especially when considering things such as college savings, retirement, day-to-day expenses and all the unexpected things that pop up when you least expect it. MassMutual’s State of the American Mom newest research study confirms that we are not alone and they have some great info on where to start.
It’s Important To Me
The main reason why getting my personal finances in order is so important to me is because I want to set an example for my son’s. Getting off on the right foot financially is important if you are going to be successful. I never realized that when I was young and unfortunately I was in debt before I turned 21. I got my first credit card when I was 16 years old, not something I would ever suggest or allow for my kids.
What is your attitude towards finances?
Advice From The Experts
The best way to get started on the path to planning for your financial future is to think carefully about who depends on you today and who might in the future.
1. What is important to me? Clarify what’s truly important to you – the people whom you care about, the aspirations you have, the things you want to protect, and the support you’d like to give to others. Your answers will create the framework around which your financial strategy can be built.
2. Who depends on me today, and who might depend on me tomorrow? While spouses and children are commonly thought of as the most obvious dependents, there can be others – for example, parents, in-laws or siblings who, due to age, or other circumstances, may be unable to care for themselves. Even individuals who are single without a family have dependents – namely, themselves – since their well-being depends on their own ability to earn an income. Knowing your list of current and potential dependents will help you create a comprehensive strategy.
3. What risks have I overlooked or not fully considered? People most obviously think of life insurance as protecting surviving dependents, but other financial responsibilities to consider may include preparing for retirement and taking care of aging parents. Be sure to think broadly about the various financial responsibilities you face today or may face in the future.
4. Are my plans flexible enough? There are numerous ways that financial product solutions can be structured to provide future flexibility and adjust with evolving needs. When speaking with your financial professional, ask about flexible solutions that can be upgraded (or downsized) as events in your life unfold. Some traditional forms of life insurance are gaining new respect in today’s economy because of their many guarantees and their ability to provide cash values that can be tapped for unforeseen needs, such as paying for a child’s education.
5. What if I already have a plan? Even the best financial strategies should be revisited and updated regularly – generally at least once a year. An experienced financial professional should regularly review your strategy with you, to help ensure that it remains aligned with your objectives and appropriate for your circumstances.
Although these five may help to put you in the right mindset for planning your financial future, the long-term commitment and discipline needed to develop a plan is time consuming and requires specialized expertise. If there were to be a step 6, it should be, “Find an expert to help with planning your financial future —someone who can factor the needs of all of your families’ long-term goals and develop a unique plan that is appropriate for you and your family to accomplish your dreams.
Getting on Track
The first step for us was to pull our credit reports and to take a look at where we were and how we got there. Next we discussed where we want to be and what we needed to do or change to get there. Finally, we had to surrender and realize the best way to achieve our financial goals was to consult with a financial professional who could show us the whole picture. Visit MassMutual’s site for a financial professional located near you.
Disclosure: I wrote this post as participation in in a blog tour for Mom Central on behalf of MassMutual and received compensation in the form of an Amazon gift code to thank me for taking the time to participate