Beyond a Budget - Financial Planning Tips
By: Bill Van Sant, SVP and Managing Director, Girard
Planning your financial future may seem like a daunting task. You need to understand the full view of what you have, what you’ll need and what it all means for your retirement. The basics – budgeting, saving and getting rid of debt are great places to start, but there are many things to consider beyond these basics. Especially for individuals and couples who have accumulated assets, there are a few critical points to consider when striving for a more secure financial future.
Create tax efficiency: Accumulating assets for retirement via investment accounts is a great start, but it’s critical to create a strategy that’s tax efficient when the time comes to withdraw those assets for income. If you have an IRA, 401(k), Roth IRA and Social Security benefits, when should you start taking assets from each account to ensure you’re maximizing your money and not going to receive a large tax bill? Working with a financial advisor can help maximize your strategy based on your age, tax bracket and accounts held so Uncle Sam doesn’t hit you with a large tax bill.
Get the proper documents lined up: Having an estate plan in place isn’t just for high-net-worth individuals. It’s essential for everyone to consider their wishes for the future and have the proper legal documents in place. Ask yourself: Do you have a will? Are named beneficiaries up to date? Do you have a Power of Attorney? If you are charitably-inclined, do you plan to leave money to a cause? It’s important to consider these questions among many others now so you are able to get your affairs in order. By ignoring estate planning as essential, you could end up leaving your heirs with quite a financial and emotional headache.
Host a family conversation: Once you’ve created your plan for the future, the final step is having an open and honest conversation with your loved ones about those plans and your wishes. Do you handle all the family finances? Would your spouse even know how to access your accounts? If you have a family business, are you planning to pass it down to family or will you sell it? Are you planning to leave an inheritance to a young adult in the family, but you prefer they use the funds a certain way? Addressing these types of questions allows you to set up strategies to help ensure your wishes are carried out. Sharing these plans with your family in advance is critical so everyone knows what to expect down the line.
It takes effort, but doing the groundwork now to create a financial plan can help set you up for long-term success. With a plan in place, you can feel confident going into retirement that you’re financially prepared. A solid strategy can also help put your family and future heirs at ease. If you’re interested in learning more about how to take your financial planning to the next level, contact a Girard advisor to start a discussion.
These articles and reports are for general information purposes only and are not intended to provide legal, tax, accounting or financial advice. The information in these articles or reports, and any opinions expressed therein, do not constitute a recommendation or an offer to buy or sell any security or financial instrument. Viewers should consult with their financial and/or legal professionals before making any financial decisions.