This New Year as you make your resolutions, commit to making one that will get you healthy and fit -- financially. While setting personal resolutions have become second nature, the New Year should also be the time each of us sits down with family, especially your significant other, adult children and older relatives, and finally get talking about where you stand financially. Talk about what your financial goals are in 2014 and what you need to have in place to ensure that your family is protected and aware.
When coaching my clients I am often asked what type of financial resolutions I think they should make for themselves or their families. Here are six suggestions I offer to help get you started for 2014.
- Do not put off the topic of estate planning and final wishes for another year. Set aside time to sit down and have an open and honest conversations with your family about your final wishes. Funeral planning is hard enough, but doing so in the midst of an unexpected loss is overwhelming and unfair to grieving family members.
- Make sure you have the right amount of life insurance in place. Your needs and net worth change year to year. Is that policy you and your partner placed on yourselves years ago still enough to protect your family in the case of an untimely passing? Do you have the right type of insurance? Will it take care of your final expenses, provide an income stream to replace your earnings and cover any capital gains?
- Where there is a Will, there is Peace of Mind. Do you have a properly drafted will in place? Is there anything you need to revise or add? The majority of Canadians (56 per cent, according to a survey released by LawPRO) do not have a signed will. If you are one of the fortunate 44 per cent, when was the last time you reviewed it?
- Do you have a legal guardian appointed for your children? If something should happen to you and your spouse have you formally asked someone to take on the role of legal guardian and have they agreed to care for your children, and respect your wishes in terms of education and religious upbringing for example?
- Become knowledgeable about your financial situation. At the end of the day, it is up to all of us to know and understand our financial picture. Book an appointment with your Financial Advisor and Accountant to review your investments and your record keeping needs for the upcoming year. Know what you have, how much you have, how it is being taxed and if it is properly protected.
- Are you a business owner? If so, do you have your business affairs in order? There are plans and safeguards you can put in place to keep your business running in the event of an unforeseen illness, disability or death.
Starting in 2014 and every New Year thereafter, I really hope to hear that more people are getting into the habit of scheduling time to review their family's financial well-being. "We have an obligation to ourselves and to those we love to make sure that we leave this world in an organized manner".