The year 2008 was full of financial surprises—many of them not so good. The best way to get through these difficult times is to be organized and understand your personal financial situation.
That means having a sense of what you have, what will be available and what you need will help you manage most financial hurdles. The first step is to get your “financial papers” organized. And the best way to do this is to set up individual files with the following headings and ask yourself these questions:
- Bank accounts: Where are they? How much is in each account? What are the current interest rates?
- Retirement accounts: What types of accounts to you have? How much is in each? How are these accounts invested?
- Investment accounts: Where are they? How are they invested?
- Credit card statements: How much do you owe? What are you paying in interest?
- Loans and lines of credit: What outstanding balances do you have? What are the interest rates? What are the terms of the loan?
- Mortgage(s): What outstanding balances do you have? What are the interest rates? What are the terms of your mortgage?
- Insurance: What types of insurance do you have? Do you have life, disability, health, property, etc.? What are the amounts of coverage? Who’s the insurer or agent? What are your annual costs?
- Estate documents: Is your will up to date? Who is the executor, trustee, etc.?
- Tax returns: Do you have access to your returns from the last three years?
- Bills: Who do you owe? What monthly expenses do you have?
- Financial advisors: Who’s your accountant? Your attorney? Your investment advisor? Your insurance professional?
There are a number of folders listed here. The good news is that you don’t have be an expert in any of the areas that these folders represent. You just have to start by getting familiar with what makes up each area of your financial life.
You can’t take control of your financial life until you have knowledge. Once you do, you will be in a position of strength in terms of handling whatever comes along—be it a problem or an opportunity.
The Associates Group Provides a Complete Range of Financial Planning Services for Individuals, Families, and Businesses. If you have a question for Alan Nadolna, you can visit www.associatesgroupinc.com or call 847-509-5090.