01 Jun

The arrival of the novel coronavirus and its corresponding respiratory illness, Covid-19, has brought unprecedented challenges to our lives. As the weeks turned into months, we have all been asked to sacrifice our modern comforts and lifestyles to help protect our neighbors and loved ones. We are working remotely, teaching our children from the kitchen table, and taking the dog on LOTS of walks. It's as if somebody, somewhere hit the "pause" button and we are all treading water until the world starts up again.

For those of use who are fortunate enough to have moved through this time without our family members experiencing the symptoms of Covid-19, the days have been getting longer and longer. We are not destined, however, to live in our own personal version of "Groundhog Day" while the stay-at-home advisories continue. In fact, there are many things that we can do to make use of the available time that we otherwise would fill at the gym, dining out with friends, or taking the kids to soccer practice. One of the best things that parents can do for their families during this time is to get their financial house in order. 

Step One: Take a Financial Inventory

Taking a financial inventory is the first step to making some much needed changes or adjustments to create long term positive impacts, from financing college to planning for retirement. Reviewing your full financial picture includes:

  • Retirement accounts (including 401(k)s and 403(b)s, Traditional IRAs, Roth IRA, Inherited IRAs, etc.)
    • How much are you contributing to your accounts? Does your employer match contributions? Can you increase your contribution amount?
    • What are your retirement goals? Are you saving enough to reach those goals?
    • Are you maximizing your tax efficiency with your contributions?
  • Life and Disability Insurance Policies
    • Do you have Term Life Insurance or Whole Life? 
    • Are you taking advantage of any employer provided Life Insurance Plans? How about Disability Insurance?
    • Are you adequately insured such that your family could maintain their quality of life without your income?
  • Savings
    • Do you have an emergency fund? Do you have enough saved to cover your expenses? For how long?
  • Debts
    • Do you have a mortgage? Have you considered refinancing in this low rate environment to free up your cash flow?
    • Can you lower you payments on student loans to allocate the extra cash to another bucket? (i.e. retirement savings or emergency fund)
    • Can you stack your credit card debt to first eliminate the balance on the card with the greatest interest rate?

Step Two: Work with a Financial Advisor to get your House in Order

Sometimes the idea of taking a financial inventory can feel overwhelming. You do not have to know all of the answers - most of us never learned how to properly manage finances, and the thought of doing so can be too daunting. Contact a licensed financial advisor to ensure that all of your "buckets" are being filled in the right way, in the right order. For young families, time is on your side. The earlier you develop a long term financial plan and begin to practice healthy financial habits, the greater your return will be.

Step Three: Protect Your Wealth into the Future

Estate planning provides security in many aspects of life, from naming guardians for minor children, to ensuring that there are legally appointed fiduciaries available to make legal, financial, and health care decisions for you in case of incapacity, to passing assets to loved ones in the event of our death. Estate planning goes hand in hand with financial planning - your financial house is not in order without designing and executing an estate plan. By reviewing your financial inventory with an estate planning attorney who understands that young families are still a work-in-progress, you can address major financial aspects of your future, including:

  • Efficient wealth transfers between spouses to help reduce or eliminate Massachusetts and/or Federal Estate Tax Liability
  • Asset protection from creditors, lawsuits, and divorces for future generations
  • Probate avoidance to reduce stress on loved ones and preserve assets
  • Nomination of Trustees and Personal Representatives to ensure that the right people are handling your affairs for your kids

Let us Help You!

The first steps toward building a successful financial future are the hardest. And just as we are paying extra attention to our physical health these days, your financial health needs attention, too. And do not feel like you need to know all of the answers - that's what the professionals are for. 

Contact us today for an initial consultation to begin your estate planning. All meetings are being conducted remotely via video conference to maintain proper social distancing. Your financial future awaits!