by Josh Stelzer
I recently read an article by Dave Carusso, CFP®, 20 Financial Planning Questions That You Need an Answer To!, which really hit home and I immediately thought about all of our clients and friends at Snider Advisors. The premise of the article was to answer a list of 20 questions that he viewed as things every person should know about themselves. The list ranges from questions about financial planning matters, to the “big picture” in life that everyone should reflect on as we enter the New Year. Hopefully the questions listed below will help you realize what is most important in your life right now:
1. Do you know how much you save or spend each year?
2. What is my current net worth?
3. What are the ten most important things I want to accomplish while you’re on this Earth?
4. Am I borrowing money the most efficiently?
5. How much am I investing in my own human capital or that of my children and grandchildren so they can earn the most during their working years?
6. Do I have the proper choices in my retirement or 401(k) plan and is it enough to allow me to retire when I intend to?
7. Do I have the proper amount in an emergency fund?
8. If something were to happen to me, will my family be able to put everything together?
9. Do I have the proper amount of insurance so my family will be taken care of if I die, become disabled or am sued?
10. Does long term care make sense for me?
11. Is my estate plan up to date and do I have a will, a durable power of attorney, a healthcare proxy, or a trust?
12. Is there anything else I can do to reduce my income taxes that I’m not doing now?
13. What is my risk tolerance and how much risk am I taking right now?
14. What is my current asset allocation with all the things I own?
15. Have I named the proper beneficiaries of my insurance and retirement accounts?
16. What has been my rate of return over the years and is it competitive to the respective benchmarks?
17. Am I up to date on the latest investments like Exchange-Traded Funds and Alternative Investments that may be negatively correlated to the stock market?
18. If I only had 5 years to live, what would I change in my life?
19. If money were no object, what would I be doing right now?
20. If I found out I was going to die tomorrow, what do I regret not doing?
I challenge you to take a moment to honestly answer each of these questions. If you’re married, ask your spouse to do the same and compare your answers. Too often I come across people who do not have certain financial affairs in order, and the consequences to their families would be catastrophic if something were to happen to them. Take the time to identify a few items on this list that you honestly want to change (we all have one or two), and set a plan to accomplish the task in the New Year.
As we move into 2012, I hope that the questions listed above help you to identify what’s really important to you, and to your families. As always, if you have any questions regarding any of the questions above, please feel free to email us at support@snideradvisors, or call us at 1-888-6SNIDER. I wish you all a successful 2012 and have a Happy New Year!