While we are socially isolating, my suggestion to you is to turn off the news, and focus on how you can improve your relationships with people and things important to you. I’ll also suggest considering your relationship with money. We all know money matters, but why? Why is it important to you?
With travel, and ‘discretionary spending’ plummeting in March and April, we now realize that the most vital necessities requiring money are food, shelter, transportation and utilities (especially the internet!). We are also realizing we can live without consuming more stuff.
This quarter, we will be reaching out to all of our clients to look over and discuss their finances, via our planning software. If you’re just starting out, we begin with a basic “Retirement Map” that shows how much you should be saving in order to retire when you want to, with the retirement income you desire. For those of you with more complex financial lives, our financial planning software looks at all facets of your financial life:
- Retirement Planning (including SS claiming and Medicare)
- Life Insurance Needs Analysis
- Tax Planning
- Tracking Household Spending
- Debt reduction strategies
- Education Planning
- Estate Planning
I think the most interesting exercise in the coming months will be to review the “Stress Testing” of your financial plan. We hopefully can assure you that your plan is solid by looking at scenarios like another market crash, crazy high future inflation, cuts to social security, or major tax increases. Even if your current plan can’t handle these potential stressors, we can help you come up with small adjustments now, rather than being forced to make huge lifestyle changes later.
While many of our clients are very good about utilizing debt properly, think about how the people you love use credit. This pandemic has shown that the government response for a bail-out of Main Street involves time, and a political tug-of-war. Your initial “bail out” program in times of crisis should be derived from your savings and investments. If someone is spending all of their income to pay off stuff they’ve already consumed, how are they able to comfortably save and invest for the future—a future that could include another pandemic or other cash-flow reducing crisis? Let’s put a plan in place .