Weekly Focus – Think About It
"We will walk in the light of creative altruism or the darkness of destructive selfishness. Life's most persistent and nagging question, he said, is `what are you doing for others?" – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Last Tuesday, I had the distinct pleasure and opportunity to speak to a wonderful group of women via the Corning Area Woman's Club. This club was organized in 1918 and is the oldest women's organization in the Corning area. For those of you that live in New York, you may recall that the weather that day was less than favorable, yet the room was full of women eager to share in a common goal of fellowship and fundraising. This was my first introduction to the group, and I was extremely impressed with their organization of the meeting.
The topic I delivered was called, "10 Financial Tips in 30 minutes." I thought perhaps you would want those same tips sent your way; therefore this weeks blog will deliver tips 1 - 5:
Tip #1 - Get Organized!
Everyone has their own "filing" system, but my recommendation is to organized based on year and keep documents and statements for at least six years (longer in some cases).
Make sure the location is secure and accessible.
Consider consolidating accounts - having accounts all over the place can make it difficult to see the big picture.
Make a list of your advisors, including your CPA's, Attorney, and Credit Union/Bank - have their phone numbers and addresses.
Calendar important "to-do" items such as property taxes, estimated taxes, required minimum distributions, insurance premium due dates, annual password changes, etc. - that way even if the bill doesn't come in the mail, it won't be forgotten all together.
This is especially helpful when it comes to the upcoming tax season!
Tip #2 - Know They Balance Sheet!
Take time to build an annual balance sheet for yourself (or if you are currently working with me, I am building it for you this quarter).
This is a great snapshot that allows you to compare year over year and will help not only you, but also potential lenders.
This is another great place to summarize contact information about the accounts, including contact information.
Tip #3 - Understand what happens when 2 becomes 1 or 1 becomes 2
Figure out what has to be done and what can wait.
Understand the tax consequences, how your income will look and how debt will be paid or joined.
In the event your spouse passes away, know the ownership of the assets and how you will be affected, if you need to probate, and if there is a stepped up basis of the assets.
In the event you marry, know the plan for pre-marital assets.
Review and possibly update your beneficiaries, Power of Attorney, and Health Care Proxy estate planning documents (and possibly a trust document).
Tip #4 - Seek Education
The library has a ton of resources available, as well as many online resources available
Some of my favorite educational websites include:
Jean Chatzky – Her Money: https://www.jeanchatzky.com/
Tip #5 - Trust, but Verify
Make sure you get the answers to your questions - don't let anyone tell you "it's complicated" or "hard to explain"
Don't worry about offending - worry about understanding
Follow the Warren Buffett motto, and I'm paraphrasing, if you can't wrap your head around it, don't buy it or get involved with it.
Tips 6 - 10 will be delivered next week - so stay tuned!