It’s the start of the new decade, and resolutions of all shapes and sizes are ringing loud in our ears: exercising more, eating healthier, paying down debt, learning a new language, running a marathon, etc. etc. And while these are all worthy resolutions, the one that so often fails to make the list is one of the most important: getting organized financially.
Getting your financial life in order is no small undertaking—the decisions you need to make are complex…and they get pushed off until tomorrow, until next week, until next month…
…and suddenly it’ll be 2021, we’ll have flying cars (okay, maybe not), and you’ll be feeling the exact same way you feel right now: financially overwhelmed, with just the slightest inkling of confidence in your estate plan.
The problem with most New Year’s Resolutions—the reason that the majority of them fail—is because we tend to overgeneralize them. We resolve to “eat healthier” instead of cut back on sugar and refined carbohydrates. We resolve to “start exercising” instead of getting to the gym three times per week. We resolve to “organize our financial life” instead of review our estate plan, setup our will or a trust, or start the process of Medicaid planning.
And before you know it, it’ll be too late. Not to put a damper on the mood here…
We saw an article in Forbes with some great advice for prioritizing the areas of your financial life that need the most attention. Consider each item on the the following of financial aspects, and rank them—on a scale of 1-10, 1 being the lowest—based on how confident you are in that area:
• Cash flow
• Risk management
• Estate planning
What’s your answer for estate planning? If you’re confident in your plan, great! That puts you the majority of Americans who even have an estate plan! But…when was the last time you had it reviewed? If something happened to you tomorrow—and we hope it doesn’t—are you confident that your financial wishes would be executed exactly as you wish, with zero hindrance to your family members or loved ones? Would the non-profit organizations that mean something to you receive the amount of assets you’d like them to receive? Would your legacy live on?
If you can’t answer those questions with full confidence, then maybe 2020 is the year for you to get financially organized: get your existing estate plan reviewed, or create an estate plan to begin with. Remember, everyone who owns anything needs an estate plan, even if you don’t feel like your assets are grand enough to be considered an “estate.” At the minimum, a will and trust can help give you peace of mind.
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