Many people are familiar with the expression, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”
As an agent with New York Life, I can assure you that when it comes to financial goals and objectives, this old adage still rings true. In fact, it may be more relevant than ever.
It isn’t always easy for some Americans to make financial headway. With pensions in decline and interest rates only just starting to inch up near historic lows, it usually takes persistence and sound planning to get ahead.
Not sure how to begin? That’s okay. It’s easy for individuals to become overwhelmed if they think about all their needs at once. Instead, try taking it one step at a time, starting with the basics.
Build an emergency fund: No matter what stage of life you’re in, it’s important to set aside eight to 10 months of living expenses. You don’t have to do it all at once, but every dollar you save today, is a dollar you won’t have to borrow if something unexpected happens.
Protect your home and family: Most of us have people who depend on us to keep a roof over their heads and food on their plates. That’s a big responsibility, but it is one that life insurance can help you meet – even if something tragic happens. You can start with an affordable term-life plan; and then, add more coverage as your needs and budget grow.
Prepare for major expenses: As a parent or grandparent, you naturally want the best for your loved ones. Now’s the time to start a college or wedding fund, so they won’t have to go into debt to make their dreams come true.
Get ready for retirement: There are plenty of ways to set aside money for retirement: 401(k)s, IRAs and fixed deferred annuities – just to name a few. But they all have one thing in common: The sooner you start, the better off you’ll be in the long run. Try to increase contributions over time – perhaps 1 percent with each raise – or, for those over 50 years old, there are some catch-up provisions that may allow them to contribute even more.
While the economy is starting to grow, it still makes sense to stay focused on the things that really matter. A sound financial strategy can help people accomplish many things, but perhaps the most important is making sure to never lose sight of them again.
WealthMark Financial Solutions, LLC is not owned or operated by New York Life or its affiliates. Neither New York Life nor its agents provide tax, legal or accounting advice.