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Forty somethings

Forty somethings

You have hit your stride: established in your career, home and family.  When you think of all the tasks you are carrying, you may be tempted to add “juggler” to your resume!  Certainly when it comes to personal finances, you have many balls in the air: retirement, mortgage, college funding, budgeting and perhaps even some estate planning.  What is a person to do?

Take your time and instead of being overwhelmed by all of these financial responsibilities, take them one by one.  With an approach like this, you can, every month review one aspect of your current situation and make progress towards your financial goals.

Key Actions:

 Get serious about saving money for retirement.

  • Take full advantage of the employer retirement plan; maximize the employer contribution to the plan. If possible, increase your contribution rate above 10% to 15%.
  • Review your eligibility for Roth IRA contributions.
  • Project your current retirement savings and its growth at the point of your retirement.

 Saving for college is important.

  • But not as important as saving for your retirement.
  • Investigate 529 plans and Education Savings Accounts (ESAs).
  • http://www.savingforcollege.com/ and http://www.finaid.org/ are two excellent websites for additional insights to the programs and process.
  • Compare expected expenses against anticipated college assets. Make a plan to address the difference.

Mortgages & Homes

  • Before refinancing, consider the costs of the refinance and the associated break even time period.
  • Before “trading up” to another home, review the costs of ownership and the impact on future financial goals.   Will the increased costs effect your retirement savings plans?

Budgeting

 With growing children come growing demands on the available cash flow in the family.

  • Use a personal finance manager tool, such as Quicken or mint.com to track your family’s cash flow.
  • Analyze the family cash flow monthly, modify financial behavior as needed and nurture the growth of your family’s wealth.

Estate Plan

Admit it, you have been avoiding this, but everyone will deal with this!

  • Have your will written by an attorney who focuses their practice on estate planning, wills, trusts and probate.
  • Learn about trusts and with the help of your estate planning attorney determine if these documents are needed in your unique situation.

 

Sure there is a lot to do, but start by tackling one of these issues this month.  Next month, pick the next issue. At the end of the year, you will have significantly advanced your personal financial plan. If you don’t do this, no one else will!