Your financial well-being benefits from regular checkups, just like your physical well-being.
On August 25, 2016, Dupaco presented the Financial Checkup: Put Your Plan into Action Webinar to help you through the process of reviewing your current situation, identifying any major life events, and taking steps to make sure you are still on the right path. You can view the full webinar recording below.
Dupaco’s Tami Rechtenbach, vice president, member services & training answers some of the most common questions regarding the financial checkup process:
Q. What is a financial checkup? A. A financial checkup is an overview of your entire financial picture and planning. It includes everything from goals, budgeting and investments; to legal documents such as a Power of Attorney and wills. It also means preparing the ownership and access of your accounts and then organizing your records to give peace of mind to your loved ones.
Q. Why is it so important? A. Life happens and things change. It’s important to complete a regular financial checkup to make sure you are still on track with your goals and budget and to keep your accounts and legal documents updated.
Q. Where do I begin? A. The best way to begin your financial checkup is to establish your goals. We recommend that you write your goals down to help you identify what it is you want and to help you stay motivated. These may contain a mix of short- (creating a budget or paying off a credit card) and long-term goals (paying off a vehicle or saving for a down payment of a house).
Q. After my goals are set, what do I do next? A. The next step is to create or review your budget. You need to know where you currently stand before you can put plans in place for the future. However, it’s important to remember that as your life changes, your budget should also adjust accordingly. Read more about budgeting >>
Q. Are there other things I should review annually? A. You should check your credit each year to make sure you are keeping it healthy. You should also review your insurance policies and investment and retirement accounts—make sure to account for any changes in your life.
Q. What can I do to prepare for any unexpected events in my life? A. One way to prepare for the unexpected is to build an emergency savings account. Ideally you want to have at least 3 to 6 months’ worth of income in this account. It’s also a good idea to prepare your final arrangements such as a will. As you prepare your final arrangements, you’ll want to understand the different legal documents and how they work. The webinar below provides details on several of these documents.
Q. Why is it important to understand how accounts are titled or if I name beneficiaries to my accounts? A. Account titling, or ownership, can indicate who has access to the funds not only while you are alive, but also upon your death. Naming beneficiaries on your accounts may lead to unintended consequences. Many people think that if they have a will in place, all of their assets will be distributed according to the details of their will. But it’s important to understand that when you name a beneficiary to an account, this supersedes your will—so it’s important to make sure that all of your accounts and documents are coordinated to match your will or trust.
Q. How do I keep track of all of this information? A. If you’re like most people, we keep this information in our head. But when you’re gone or unable to do this on your own, how will your family know not only where to find this information, but what exactly it is you have—what and how many accounts or policies? Creating one master document that contains all of this information will save your loved ones stress and time.