A Fall Financial Check Up

by Doris Dobkins

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When was the last time you gave your personal finances a Check-Up? Since financial planning is such an important component of our lives, I think it is good to step back, at least once a year and give your finances a Check-Up.

If you wonder how in the world to do that, I'll make it easy for you.

Take time to answer the following questions as best as possible. If you don't know the answers off the top of your head, take the time necessary to research them out. You just may be thankful some day that you did. Record your answers on a separate sheet of paper.

Here we go:

Financial Planning:
1. What is the most important financial concern to you at this time?
2. Do you feel good about your financial future?
3. Do you follow a monthly financial budget?
4. Are existing debts of concern to you at this time?
5. Have you prepared a statement of total net-worth recently? (If not, make plans to do so.)
6. Are taxes of concern to you?

Insurance Coverage:
1. Do you have adequate health insurance coverage?
2. Do you have adequate homeowners insurance coverage?
3. Do you have appropriate life insurance coverage?
4. Is long-term health insurance important to you?
5. Is disability insurance important to you?

1. Do you have a fund/plan for emergency needs?
2. What percent of your income goes into savings or long-term investments each month?
3. Are you concerned that you might not have enough money for retirement?
4. Are you regularly funding any type of retirement plan, i.e. 401(k), 403(b), IRA, Sep, etc.
5. Do you have any low yielding investments/savings?
6. Do you have any fixed or variable annuities?
7. How well are your investments diversified?

Large-cap _____%
Mid-cap ______%
Small-cap ______%
International ______%
Fixed ______%

Estate Planning
1. Do you have a current will or living trust?
2. Do you have a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care?
3. Do you have a "Springing" Durable Power of Attorney for financial management?
4. Have you received a Social Security Benefit analysis as an estimate of retirement income? Benefit analysis is available: 1-800-772-1213
5. Do you need to provide for Guardianship of your minor children in case of your death?
6. Do you provide for someone financially who requires special care?
7. Are you concerned about estate taxes?

To stay financially fit and monitor your progress, consider completing these questions annually. Keeping your results in a binder will help you track your progress each year. A little preparation once a year can go a long way to secure your financial future for you.

Doris Dobkins is a money saving expert, author and speaker and has helped thousands of people find ways to save money and get out of debt.

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