Financial Planning Doesn't Have to be "Spooky"!

US Wealth McCarthy |

October is Financial Planning Awareness Month, and as we conclude this month, it’s a good time to review your income to date and withholding allowances and make plans for both your short-term and long-term financial issues.

Short-term planning should focus on minimizing your overall 2018 tax burden.  Make sure you have taken advantage of all your available opportunities to save and defer income and taxes – 401k plan, Health Savings Account, etc.

These “short-term” decisions should be made in the context of your overall, long-term financial plan.

  • Do you have a budget?  A spending plan for each year will help to add some short-term discipline to your spending habits
  • Do you have a Financial Plan?  A basic question, but for most people, the answer is “no.”  The Plan should be the basis of your financial decisions – long, short, and everything in between.  The plan sets your goals and prioritizes achieving them.  A comprehensive financial plan will address the following:
    • Retirement planning
      • When?
      • How much are you saving annually?
      • Are you maximizing the plans your employer offers?
      • If you’re self-employed, are you maximizing the opportunities for self-employed individuals?
      • How much will you need in retirement annually?
      • For how long do you anticipate being retired and in good health?
    • Education planning
      • Are you saving for these expenses or will you be relying on financial aid and loans?
    • Health care planning
      • Current health insurance
      • Disability insurance
      • Long Term Care Insurance (LTCI) to protect from being bankrupted by the high costs nursing home care
    •  Legacy Planning
      • Do you plan to leave an estate?
      • To whom?
      • How will this legacy be managed?
  • Annually review your estate documents to determine the need for any changes.
    • Wills and trusts need regular reviews.  Tax and estate laws can change with little publicity, so you need to prompt your planner or attorney to be aware of the need for changes to documents.
    • Digital assets are a new phenomenon. How will your heirs/beneficiaries access your accounts if all are maintained online?
      • Do you have secure storage for all your passwords and other access information to your brokerage and savings accounts, insurance policies, etc.?  It’s important to keep a good library of this access and let a trusted party know where it is located.

 As you head out for Halloween tonight or prepare for the arrival of costumed candy seekers, don’t get spooked by the need to get your financial life in order.

It is a “treat” you owe yourself…and your family.


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


Securities offered through LPL Financial. Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through US Financial Advisors, a registered investment advisor.  US Wealth Management and US financial Advisors are separate entities from LPL Financial.

Pictured from left to right: Rob, Sharon "Nana", Hannah, Sue & Kelley Davies at Nana and Poppy's house.