Monthly Archives: January 2017

Why Do I Need an Annual Financial Plan Review?

Couple Reviewing Financial Plan with Advisor

Make time for an annual review of your financial plan.

You’re still married. You still have two kids. You still plan to retire in 5-10 years. Everything is the same, so why is a review of your financial plan so important? Here are a few of the reasons we encourage a financial plan review every year, no matter what.

Tax Codes

Each year, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announces a new set of tax codes. It may include an adjustment to the tax brackets, the addition or removal of tax incentives, revised guidelines for certain exemptions, or a number of other amendments. Depending on your circumstances, these may or may not have an impact on your financial plan. Since it’s hard to keep up with the changes from year to year, a financial plan review is a good opportunity to make sure you’re prepared to make adjustments on your end.

IRA Contributions

Once you reach a certain age, you may be able to contribute more money to your IRA accounts. For some, this is a valuable advantage that will help work towards retirement goals. When you schedule an annual review of your financial plan, your advisors can discuss these opportunities with you and update your plan to accommodate for greater contributions. Without the review, you may miss out on these important stepping-stones toward retirement.

Investment Strategy

When your advisor initially created a financial plan, you probably reviewed your savings and investments goals together. It’s a good idea to revisit those plans each year, to ensure you’re on track as far as time frame, risk tolerance, and specific preferences. If market conditions over the past year gave you concern, then meeting with your advisor can help you decide whether or not your accounts need to be rebalanced.

Insurance

If you’re nearing retirement age, then you may have a life insurance policy that needs adjusting. You may want to drive more funds to a health insurance plan that can help you with medical expenses as you age. There are also certain deadlines for enrolling in Medicare, so you’ll want to discuss how those changes may affect your financial plan.

Of course, if you have experienced any major changes with your career or family, then you may not want to wait for your annual review. Events such as death, illness, marriage, divorce, job change, injury or other occurrences may have an immediate affect on your financial plan.

The bottom line is, an annual review of your financial plan is important because you may not realize the events or changes that affect you – either this year or a few years down the road. Remember that your financial plan is your long view: it needs periodic maintenance in order to work towards the results you want at the end.

Schedule a financial plan review to make sure your future is on track.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

Women’s Finances: How Do You Prepare For The Future?

Three Women on Couch

Prepare for the future by understanding the differences in women’s finances.

It’s a fact: in the U.S., women live longer than men, on average. According to this NPR report, females can expect to outlast their male counterparts by nearly five years. If you’re a woman, that means your finances may need to be planned for and executed differently. Generally speaking, women may need more money than men, in order to support themselves for those remaining years.

So, how can you try to ensure you’re prepared for the future? Here are a few key strategies that can help boost women’s finances, depending on the age and financial situation.

Employer Retirement Plans

One of the best ways to beef up your savings may be to earmark a portion of your salary for an employer-provided retirement plan, such as a 401(k). Some women’s finances are impacted if they leave the workforce to care for their children or parents, which can create a gap in retirement savings. The earlier you can start contributing to a 401(k) or similar plan, the better you may be able to cope with the absences and greater savings needs.

If your employer offers a contribution match, you may want to take advantage of the full amount, so you have the opportunity to save even more money. This can help you build a solid foundation to tap into when you have health or living expenses.

Individual Retirement Accounts

Whether or not you have an employer-provided retirement plan, it can be a good idea to open an individual retirement account, or IRA. Not only do these accounts offer important tax benefits, but they also don’t have to be transferred if you change jobs. Depending on your choice between a traditional IRA and Roth IRA, you may be able to withdraw your funds once you’re retired or keep them there until needed.

In terms of women’s financial needs, IRAs can be especially helpful when it comes to supplementing social security and investment income. They are superior savings vehicles that may help you build a savings nest egg over time.

Long-term Care Insurance

Since women have longer life expectancies, they can sometimes have higher living expenses and medical bills as well. Long-term care insurance can help offset these costs, as long as you enroll before you reach a certain age or have certain health complications. Here’s an idea of how much health care may cost by the time you retire.

If you are near the end of your career or have already entered retirement, then there may be other strategies available to help you prepare or the future. Guidant Wealth Advisors specializes in women’s finances and helping women navigate their financial plan before and during retirement.

Reach out to us – we are happy to discuss your specific concerns.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

2017 Financial Checklist: The To-Dos You’ve Been Meaning to Finish (But Haven’t)

Couple Working on Financial Paperwork

Tackle your financial checklist for 2017 while the new year is fresh.

Your 2017 financial checklist may be like the one you have for home maintenance and repairs: a long list of to-dos and what feels like a short amount of time to actually do them. Thankfully, a new year is here, and it’s time to refresh your memory on the important tasks that can help as you work towards securing your financial future. Put each one in your calendar, so you can schedule time in your week for what needs to be done.

Power of Attorney for Healthcare

When you assign a medical power of attorney, you choose someone who will make decisions regarding your healthcare, in the case you cannot do it yourself. For example, if you are involved in a car accident, you may need a power of attorney for healthcare. This can affect not only your medical health but also your financial situation, so be sure to make this a priority on your financial checklist for 2017. Here’s more information about assigning a POA.

Wills and Trusts

If you want to leave any of your assets to your family or friends after you die, then you need to take care of these legal documents now. Depending on the type of assets, you may need to put together a will or a living trust. You can learn more about the differences between wills and trusts on our blog.

Life Insurance/Disability Insurance

Another important to-do for your 2017 financial checklist! Most of us recognize we need life insurance in order to cover expenses if we pass away. Fewer people realize that disability insurance, outside of what’s offered by an employer, may also be essential to paying the everyday bills if you’re unable to work. Learn more about the role of life insurance within your financial plan, and get more insight on why you may need to have disability insurance.

Long-term Care Insurance

It’s well documented that most people are going to need some form of long-term care (LTC) insurance as they become older. Whether it’s to cover in-home assistance or overwhelming medical expenses, LTC is likely going to help pay the bills that may not be covered under traditional insurance plans. And even though men and women may have different needs when it comes to LTC, both may want to consider enrolling some time this year.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.