It’s that time again: another year, another resolution!

New Year’s Resolution: Give Yourself a Financial Checkup

It’s that time of year again where you make promises to improve yourself in one way or another. Whether it’s to eat better, exercise more or improve your lifestyle, setting goals for the upcoming year helps increase the possibility of making improvements on your quality of life versus the prior year.

One of the best resolutions you can make this year is to take better control and have a clearer understanding of all of the moving parts in your financial life.

I have outlined 13 primary issues that you should review, with the help of a financial advisor, to make these goals a reality:

  1. Investments: Review your current asset allocation, funds and managers as well as the correlation and diversification of all your investments.
  2. Insurance: Review your life, long-term care and liability policies as it pertains to types, premium, ownership and beneficiary of each policy.
  3. Liabilities: What types of debt do you have and what are the balances and terms?
  4. Qualified Retirement Plan/IRA: What are your plans for future distribution of the plan at retirement and who are your beneficiaries at death?
  5. Stock Options: What types of options do you have and what are the vesting and exercise issues?
  6. Business Succession Plan: What are your plans on selling or passing ownership to someone else (pre- and post-death)?
  7. Durable Power of Attorney: Who have you given legal authority to act on your behalf in the event you are unable to handle your own affairs?
  8. Gifting To Children And Descendants: How do you want your assets to be distributed to them?
  9. Charitable Gifting During Life: If interested, what organizations would you want to donate to during your life? (whether it’s cash or securities in kind)
  10. Titling Of Assets: How is the ownership of your individual assets titled as? (Jointly, Tenants In Common, Individually, etc.)
  11. Executor/Trustee: Have you named an executor/trustee of your estate?
  12. Distribution Plan at Death to Spouse/Descendants: How do you plan your assets on being distributed when you die? Directly to named beneficiaries? To trusts?
  13. Charitable Inclinations at Death: If interested, what organizations would you want to donate to after you die?

It should be understood that some of these 13 issues may not be applicable to everyone but it does encompass everything that will give you a better grasp on your financial affairs and certainly provided a trusted advisor everything they would need to know to help guide you and perhaps get these issues on paper to provide actionable ideas.

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