Thursday, December 22, 2016
Your next resolution: A financial checkup
Trying to come up with a New Year’s resolution worth sticking to?
Make this the year you resolve to get your financial affairs in order with a financial checkup.
“Knowing you are on the right track financially, all the way through making sure you are prepared for the unexpected, will give you great peace of mind and ensure your family knows what to do,” says Lisa Kruser, a member service representative at Dupaco Community Credit Union’s Hillcrest branch in Dubuque.
Follow these steps to start the New Year on solid financial footing:
Get a Money Makeover
A free Dupaco Money Makeover is a great place to start with a financial checkup. You’ll have an opportunity to review your budget, credit report, loans, insurance and investments. You also can learn how to prevent fraud and get connected with experts who can assist you with everything from 401(k) plans to estate planning.
Ask yourself the tough questions
It’s not easy to think about, but it’s a critical part of any financial checkup: Ask yourself whether you are prepared in the event you are suddenly unable to care for yourself and your finances. Take it a step further: Do you have a plan in place for when you pass away? “Although this is a very sensitive subject to prepare for, it is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and, most importantly, for your loved ones,” Kruser says.
Create an estate plan
If you don’t have an estate plan in place, resolve to remedy that this year. Your estate plan should include the designation of a durable power of attorney and health care power of attorney. Learn what to expect during the planning process, and consider reaching out to First Community Trust to determine whether a will or trust is appropriate for your situation. “You don't want the state to determine who takes care of your children or how to divide your assets,” Kruser says. “Losing a loved one is so difficult as it is. Being prepared will make it a little easier for your family.”
Consider any life changes
Any time you experience a life-changing event, it is important to review your accounts, insurance policies and other documents, including your power of attorney and will. Ensure you have your accounts set up with the correct information and updated beneficiaries. Some major life changes—a marriage, divorce or new child—might affect who you want to have access to your accounts or who you want named as beneficiaries. “If there is one thing we know about life, it’s that it is always changing,” Kruser says.
Take advantage of your membership
When your financial checkup is finished, you can continue keeping tabs on your finances through a variety of tools, including Dupaco’s free credit monitoring service, Bright Track, and eNotifier Alerts. “Always know that our members are welcome to come in and sit down with one of our staff to discuss any questions or concerns they may have,” Kruser says. “Staying on top of our finances is a goal we all want to keep, and Dupaco is working hand in hand with our members to help them achieve that every day.”
By Emily Kittle