Many people believe that “if it’s not broken, then don’t fix it,” as it relates to their personal and financial wellbeing. Unfortunately, just waiting until something breaks is a terrible strategy.
We all have professional advisors we depend upon to keep our affairs up to date. But, realistically, we can’t expect them to be tuned into our lives if we don’t engage them regularly to review our overall personal, family and business goals.
It’s the difference between being proactive—with a desire to achieve clarity, vision, and a strategy for your future—or simply reacting to a situation, with a knee-jerk short-term fix to what could be a systemic problem.
And year-end is the perfect time to be proactive.
Think about your car as a metaphor for your financial health. Try as you might, you can’t avoid every winter pothole—and, come March, the car starts to veer slightly. Do you:
- Tell yourself that you’ll get an alignment when it’s convenient?
- See a technician right away to have the problem assessed?
If you chose B—responding proactively to the problem—you’ll know what’s wrong right away, and have it fixed before it causes any real damage. If you chose A, you could find yourself reacting with your wallet, and being at the mercy of others to repair much greater damages. That’s a simplistic example, but the same thinking applies to your personal finances.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to make sure you’re being proactive and not reactive:
When’s the last time you spoke with your attorney? Have your children reached majority? Are they going off to college? When did you last review your wills, trusts and power of attorney authorizations? What other legal documents may have grown stale and outdated?
What about your Investment advisor? Are you secure with the investment strategies you selected several years ago? (This is very important if you are investing through your 401k.) Has market performance left you over-exposed to certain investment classes, sectors, or specific industries such as energy, housing or retail? Has your risk tolerance changed?
When did you last truly consult with your CPA? Going over your tax return doesn’t count. Have you discussed your business in depth recently? What about your eventual exit strategy? Depending on the type of business you own, an exit strategy can take years to develop, and it should continue to evolve as the climate changes.
How’s your insurance portfolio doing? Health insurance might be your major headache right now, but when’s the last time you reviewed the values and pricing of your life insurance products? If you essentially stuck the policies in a drawer, you could very well be shocked at their actual performance compared to the original illustrations.
Being proactive is as simple as making one call to LifeAuditors.
Responding proactively is about the articulation of your hopes, ideas, and concerns. Even if your attorney, investment advisor, accountant and insurance agent are all top professionals—even if they’re among your oldest, closest friends—you can still benefit from a completely objective, one-on-one LifeAuditors assessment of your professional and personal universe:
- Risk Assessment
- Exit Strategies
- Estate Planning
- Succession Plans
I’m Paul Katz founder of LifeAuditors, with 40 years of experience delivering confidential, unclouded financial assessments. I sell no products, have no alliances with financial services firms, and manage no accounts. I can help you be more proactive in your personal finances, because I have no stake.
If you want to know more, visit us at LifeAuditors.com.
As the founder of LifeAuditors, Paul Katz stays objective to help you reach your financial goals, and sells no financial products of any kind. His advice is completely impartial.