Taking a financial health day (like a mental health day, but for your finances)
A recent New York Times article spoke of taking a day that used to be “a mental health day” to work on financial planning matters, or a “financial health day”
With work and other matters demanding attention, many financial matters get put off. One that the author singled out was estate planning – one I often see people put off.
The list he created, as paraphrased and augmented by me, included:
1. Cash back credit cards – switching to or using mileage on existing cards
2. Insurance riders – updating or adding new items for coverage, which may entail appraisals
3. Phone service review – seeing if you have the best phone set up at home (bundling phone, internet and cable to save for example or even dropping the phone for your cell phone)
4. Cell phone service review – seeing if you have the best plan for your usage
5. Nanny tax service setup – setting up payroll for any household employees. The services are inexpensive and save you time.
6. Establishing an estate plan – putting in place a will
7. Insurance benefits – applying for reimbursements
8. In case of emergencies lists – this list tells people were all crucial papers and other items are stored (I have a list on my computer as well as in my safe deposit box)
9. Auto pilot charitable giving – setting up an automatic deduction from a checking account (or doing United Way via payroll)
10. Shopping spree – using the balances on gift cards or, as noted above, using your mileage. The balances do not earn you interest so might as well buy something, as a reward for all the work done on the other items.
These are obviously all worthwhile endeavors. Some take more than one day, such as getting appraisals or executing and estate plan.
I would add to the list the following items:
11. Updating the estate plan you have for changes you want to make in selected fiduciaries or changes in tax laws
12. Checking asset ownership and beneficiary designations for your estate plan so that the plan works as you intend
13. Putting assets in your revocable trusts to avoid probate (this is more important in sates other than Massachusetts)
14. Making sure you have proper liability insurance and an umbrella policy and replacement cost on your home
15. Using your flex plan before year end
16. Tax planning – one we always check with our clients – so that changes during the year are covered by changes in estimates or AMT strategies
17. Cash planning to be sure you have funds for the big purchases….. like cars, with now being possibly a good time to buy
18. Education funding – using 529 plans and any available tax strategies
19. Homestead filing, to protect the equity in your home
20. Reviewing your disability insurance to see if you can add to it
As you know from our work, we can help with many of these items so let me know if you or any of your friends and associates want to improve your Financial Health ….
Let us know if you have questions or comments. Thanks,