Planning Tips for the New Year, Continued

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Here are some additional planning tips to bring you peace of mind in the new year.

Review your asset allocation.

The start of the new year is an excellent time to reassess your investment portfolio to make sure your asset allocation is where it should be to accomplish your investment goals.  Additionally, a stock, mutual fund or other investment that out-performed the market two years ago may not have done as well in the past year.  If so, take a long, hard look at it. 

Make a detailed monthly and annual budget.

One of the greatest fears among retirees and seniors is outliving their life savings.  If you haven’t done so already, create a detailed monthly and annual budget. If you already have a budget, be sure to update it to account for any changes in your income or any unforeseen expenses.

Take a home inventory for insurance purposes.

What is the precise value of all the “stuff” you’ve accumulated over the years?  If you’re not sure, it’s time to find out.  Photograph your valuable belongings, organize and collect all the pertinent documentation about them, and have them professionally appraised.  Then, be sure to update your property insurance.

Start a conversation.

Writing a letter to your loved ones informing them you have a plan is one thing.  Talking to them about the details of your plan is another beast entirely.  While such a conversation is infinitely more difficult than writing a letter, the rewards of doing so can be substantial.  It is entirely possible that your children would like to know, for example, how you wish to be cared for in the event of incapacity.  Similarly, your children may wonder about your financial situation.  Is your house paid for, or are you carrying a mortgage that will need to be covered if you pass away suddenly?  Have you created a will or trust, and if so, do your children stand to inherent any assets?  Your children may be hesitant to ask questions such as these for fear of appearing greedy or insensitive.  Yet they may also need this information to do proper estate planning of their own.

We understand how difficult it is to begin conversations of this nature and can help you find the best ways to broach them with your loved ones.  Experience tells us that families who are able to open up in this manner draw closer together and feel a sense of relief afterwards.  We welcome the opportunity to discuss this matter with you.

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