By Bob Barber, CWS®, CKA®
A new year always gives us a fresh opportunity to accomplish the many things we have been meaning to do, but have been putting off.
Do not feel alone, as we all tend to procrastinate when it comes to some things! It’s very easy to put off important things that need to be done, especially when it comes to financial matters. So here are 5 very important financial areas where people tend to procrastinate that could become extremely costly when put off.
#1 ESTATE PLANNING
How long has it been since you updated your will? What about medical and financial power of attorneys and other legal directives? Has anything changed over the last 5 years like having a child or a grandchild? Have you moved? Retired? Inherited assets? Acquired additional property? If any of these things have happened, you need to update your Estate Plan. Can you imagine what a delay in updating your plan could do to your spouse, immediate family, and those you love and care about, in the worst of times if you died or became incapacitated?
How long has it been since you have gone over all your insurance policies with an independent insurance advisor to assure you are well covered for the best value? Are you sure you’re well covered in the event of a major auto accident, fire, or even death? More often than not, we discover property, casualty, life and health insurance are bought on price rather than adequate coverages. Procrastination on this one can hurt so much financially at the very time you need it.
How long has it been since you have had a review to make sure you are still on the right path for your specific situation? Do you have enough funds in cash and conservative investments to withstand a potential major downturn so your growth and/or aggressive growth portfolios could wait for a potential recovery without needing to use them?
Do you know exactly how all your investments are positioned in your old 401ks, 403bs or IRAs? Old brokerage accounts? Could you reposition your CDs or savings to another financial institution for a potential better rate of return? Procrastination for very long on this one could mean thousands of dollars in missed gains over time.
#4 TAX PLANNING
How long has it been since you have gone over all of the potential legal tax strategies you could be using to lower your tax burden with an experienced advisor? Taking a proactive approach toward tax planning, especially if you are a high income earner could make a huge financial difference over many years. Could you use your potential tax savings for better causes than filling Uncle Sam’s pocket? Procrastinating on this could be costing you thousands of dollars in unnecessary taxes, especially over a lifetime.
#5 TRACKING EXPENSES
Do you know what you’re spending money on, from a day to day basis and how it all adds up on a weekly and monthly basis for things like groceries, eating out, clothing, gas, etc? Many of us have multiple bank, investment, and credit card accounts for personal and business expenditures, so it can be difficult to track. Fortunately, nearly all financial institutions today allow you to track your spending, investments, and account balances anytime with online access.
Another benefit of staying on top of your expenses is that you’ll see quickly if an account is ever compromised. You may be old fashioned and say, “I don’t want to look at any of my accounts online” but hackers do not think this way, and your financial information is already online even if you’re not. If you are not monitoring all your accounts daily, how will you know if a hacker got into any of them until it is possibly too late to do anything about it? With today’s technology, we have a system that allows you to monitor all your accounts with many different banks, credit unions, credit cards, and investment accounts (even your 401k) with just one login on your smartphone or computer at any time of the day.
This system does not allow any money to be moved or transferred, but it is strictly a monitoring system and is offered free for clients of Christian Financial Advisors. Why do you need it? Because those that know where they are financially do better than most of those that don’t.
We can help you accomplish your goals in all 5 of these areas.