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Let’s Talk (Wait, This Is Important)

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You talk to your plumber about the clogged drain; your personal trainer about proper exercise form; and your doctor about that creepy little bump on your back that’s turning weird colors.

 

So you talk with your financial professional about finances? Sure, but there’s a lot more to talk with him or her about.

 

Financial professionals can help you in many other ways. As they help you chart your future, take advantage of the knowledge sitting across the desk. There are a lifetime of discussions and questions ahead. Think about stuff like:

 

Children

Kids are great. They also cost a lot. The U.S. government estimates a middle income family will spend $233,610 raising a child to age 18 (hey, that doesn’t include college).

 

Divorce

Divorce is rarely pleasant, and it involves complicated untangling, including child rearing and the division of qualified retirement savings. Lawyers can help with some aspects, financial professionals with others.

 

Milestones

Certain birthdays trigger certain things. Quick, what happens when you turn 50, 55, 59 1/2, 60, 62, 65, 66, and 70 1/2? Nobody is born knowing this stuff. Ask.

 

Elder fraud

Whether you’re helping aging parents, or becoming a target yourself, a frank talk about fraud and scams that stalk older people could help you recognize when something is going sideways.

 

Death of a parent

If you’ve never dealt with the situation, grief can be compounded by confusion. From knowing what a death certificate is (and why you’ll need multiple copies) to understanding beneficiary IRAs and life insurance, you will need help.

 

Retirement income

There’s retirement saving and retirement income. For most, income is what matters. Americans spend a working lifetime saving, but many may not understand retirement spending. Ask a professional, “How will I spend this?”

Social Security

How well do you understand Social Security benefits? Do you know your claiming options? And do you know you could earn higher monthly benefits if you wait until reaching full retirement age?

 

Medicare

You may think of Medicare as “free health insurance.” But that doesn’t tell the whole story. Do you know what Medicare covers, what it doesn’t, and what filling those gaps will cost?

 

Health

Talk with a financial professional about your family medical history to help anticipate potential needs, especially if there’s a likelihood that skilled extended medical care is in the picture. It may be an uncomfortable conversation at first, but more than 5 million Americans struggle with Alzheimer’s disease, a tragic and debilitating condition. Preparations can include medical directives, powers of attorney, financial resources set aside for your care, and estate planning.

 

Longevity

Americans are living longer. Early retirement may not make sense if you think you might live to 100. Advances in health care, nutrition, exercise, and healthy habits mean you may live longer than you expect. Just as important as having enough money is preparing for how you will spend that time. Social engagement has emerged as a vital part of preparing for retirement.

 

How often do you talk with your financial professional about stuff other than investments? If you’ve had that talk, share some insights.

 

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2 Comments
Dswaim

I think that some people are just challenged to have this discussion because there is a significant element of reality that they might need to face or be addressed.  Overcoming this fear might save your future financial well being.

#cmgr

I think you are spot on @Dswaim, we most recently had to find a tax professional that specializes in international taxes and immigration after my husband and I got married. We knew we needed professional help, since we have not filed together ever before and because I used to live in Canada, my assets and income was in another country. What we did not realize when we started the conversation how many treaties and exceptions there are. It was very scary. We were facing an additional estimated $21,000 in taxes at the end of the year, even though we both paid taxes all year. Having a professional to help us through this life event of getting married and filing taxes together, helped us manage such a huge hurdle. I will ever be grateful for his help.

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