9 Questions to consider in planning your financial future

The Means Report: Fehrman Investment Group Economic Commentary Graphic
The Means Report: Fehrman Investment Group Economic Commentary Graphic

Having a solid understanding of your financial status is crucial to planning, budgeting and saving toward your goals. More than 40% of couples recently unveiled that they don’t know how much their partner earns. And 1 in 10 couldn’t guess within a $25,000 margin of error. These couples, who share their lives together, have no idea what their total household income is. Yet, the majority of those same couples claim they regularly have open conversations about their finances. There’s a disconnect somewhere.

The Couples Retirement Study by Fidelity Investments revealed that many couples could stand to dive a little deeper when it comes to their joint financial lives. However, many couples opt to divide and conquer how they manage money, bills, assets and debts, which could leave one or both in the dark about important financial matters.

So, it makes sense that both partners, whether you’ve been married for a month or decades, collaborate when it comes to financial planning, money management and decision-making – sharing the responsibilities of building and protecting your financial future.

The next 9 questions are some good ones to consider when thinking about your financial lives:

How do you view money? Talk about your values like whether you’re a spender or a saver how you use debt and the role money has played in your life.

What’s our budget? Do you know your cost of living? Is it below your means? Can you save for future goals?

What do we own and owe? Take inventory of your collective assets and liabilities: property, insurance policies, bank, retirement and brokerage accounts – pretty much anything that involves money.

Where’s our emergency fund? How much is in it? Is it titled in both our names so we’ll have ready access should the unexpected happen?

What are we saving for? Are you funding an education for your grandkids, buying a lake house, a vacation, retirement? You need to know what your short- and long-term priorities are and diligently save toward them as a team.

What will we need to live comfortably in retirement? It’s best to know how each of you envision the future; then plan, save and invest accordingly.

How much are we saving for retirement and where are the accounts? Keep track of your 401(k)s, including ones from previous jobs; IRAs and CDs that are dedicated to retirement; how much you’re contributing; and whose name is on each.

Where are important documents kept? Are our wills, living trusts, powers of attorney and healthcare proxies updated and stored in a secure spot? What about our tax records?

What will happen when one of us passes away? Estate planning, including writing a comprehensive will, sets up contingencies to help ensure your family is taken care of after the loss of one or both of you.

If you need help answering these questions, feel free to contact our office for an appointment so that you can have a more solid understanding of your financial status.

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Brad Means

The Means Report first aired in January of 2009 offering coverage that you cannot get from a daily newscast. Forget about quick soundbytes -- we deliver an in-depth perspective on the biggest stories. If they are making news on the local or national level, you will find them on the set of The Means Report. Hosted by WJBF NewsChannel 6 anchor, Brad Means, The Means Report covers the topics impacting your life, your town, your state, and your future.