If you’re experiencing a major life change of any kind, or facing a crucial financial decision, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with your financial advisor.
Here are some examples of major life passages when you may need some good financial advice – and some action items to bring up:
1. Marriage. At a minimum, it’s critical to have life insurance in place to protect both spouses. Many advisors also assist with budgeting tools and can help you develop a long-range financial plan together as a couple. Other critical items to discuss include disability insurance, purchasing or refinancing a home and starting retirement savings.
2. A new baby. A pregnancy or new baby means it’s time to update your life insurance, and name a new beneficiary. It’s also an excellent time to begin planning for college by setting up a Section 529 Plan or in some cases using cash-value life insurance strategies to accumulate assets that don’t get counted against your child for need-based financial aid purposes.
3. Starting a business. An experienced financial advisor can help you separate your business assets from your personal assets, and set up small business retirement and employee benefit plans of all kinds. Your insurance professional can ensure you have vital coverage and protections in place – such as key person life insurance and disability insurance.
4. Retirement. Your advisor can help you make critical decisions about Medicare that may affect the rest of your life. Make your appointment a few months before you turn 65, so that you won’t miss your Medicare Open Enrollment windows.
It’s also time to ensure your assets are structured to provide an income, to minimize risk and needless taxes. Moreover, it’s time to review your will, power-of-attorney documents and your advanced health care directive.
5. Getting a promotion or new job. A promotion usually means more money – and also more decisions. You may be in a higher marginal tax bracket, for example, which may affect how you choose to save and invest. Your advisor may be able to help you minimize your taxes. You may want to increase disability income and life insurance, or discuss protecting yourself and your family against high long-term care costs.
If you’re changing jobs, you need to decide what to do with that old 401(k).
6. Receiving an inheritance. Your advisor can help you structure your inheritance to minimize taxes, as well as help you invest as productively as possible.
7. Hitting age 72. If you have tax-deferred retirement assets or annuities, you need to look at required minimum distributions. It’s also a good time to double check on your will, advanced health care directives, power of attorney and other financial documents. Some people discuss passing wealth on to heirs and to charities via gifting, trust and life insurance strategies.
Finally, it’s a good idea to check in with us for a periodic review, or if markets suddenly change. Regardless of what happens, we are here to serve you. Call us any time.