I love plans.
Planning gives structure, after all.
The great part about planning is it allows you to see possibilities where there may have only been a single pathway previously.
In many ways, a plan lets you go into “mindless mode”.
As a parent, I understand mindless mode – writing down all of the events of the afternoon and weekend and just doing them. With all of the sports practices, band practices, school pickups and drop-offs, errands, bills and other adulting, we just want one thing besides a vacation…
And that is?
Well, a simple checklist of what to do and where to go.
Then, we can be in the moment of what we are doing. We can enjoy life’s best moments a little more. And, we can actually be more involved during these events in our lives.
Planning also does one other very important thing – it helps to remove errors. It prevents as many errors as possible from randomly popping and saying “Hello…”
Instead of error prone actions, (and things going haywire all the time), we have this exact list. That plan is a ‘step by step’ of things that need to happen, how they should happen and possible contingencies for issues.
But, life happens, right?
No matter the plans, life can throw you a curveball that no one, including life itself, could’ve expected.
A good plan gets you to your goal. A great plan looks at possible issues and plans for solutions prior. A perfect plan sees the good, the bad, the expected and the unexpected, and gives you a true roadmap for everything that could happen.
I like planning.
I love good planning.
And everyday, I strive for GREAT planning.
What do I mean by a money plan?
So, basic plans mean we are trying to get to a simple, particular goal. For our money, that involves making, saving, growing and protecting as much as possible.
A budget is one way to plan for spending. Setting up automatic savings deposits is a way to plan for saving money. Having 10% of your paycheck go into your 401k is a safe, simple plan for investing and saving.
You get the point here…
A money plan, a true money plan, involves doing these four things, effectively:
- Making more money via a job or business
- Saving money
- Investing money
- Protecting your assets and money
An estate planning attorney like here at Beacon Estate Planning and Elder Law LLC involves the ‘protecting’ part. In fact, I always like to say, “if you can give me 5 years of good health, I can protect 100% of what you would like protected.”
But what about the other parts of your money plan?
What is involved in saving money? How can you plan for making more money via your job, occupation or business? And are we actually going to talk about investing?
Well, not directly.
For instance, I’m no good at telling you where to invest your next $1000 – I will say, I like tacos and hot dogs. That’s not a good investment for a gym, but it might be for a food truck… right?
In all seriousness, we are just going to go over some experts you might need to include in your planning. As well as how to know who you can actually trust.
Let’s get started with some of the things you will likely need…
What are we talking about here?
As I’ve said many times before, I like working with other professionals who are trained in helping you reach all of your goals, needs and wants.
I’m an estate planning lawyer in New Castle Pennsylvania. So, I deal with protecting your assets at the time of serious illness, death and other similar life experiences. I create Last Will & Testaments, Living Trusts, Power of Attorney documents and other asset protecting mechanisms for my clients, their parents and their handicapped and special needs children.
But what about growing your money?
A corporate bank or friendly credit union here in Lawrence County is a big help. We have many branches in the area like PNC and Huntington, as well as local credit unions like First Choice FCU to help you.
You can save, borrow and invest with these institutions. And they will have your best interests in mind as well as their own.
Are you thinking about creating a business?
An accountant and a banker are your very best of friends. A CPA can help you navigate tax law, as well as might have a focus on corporate and business law to really assist you. Your bank or credit union can help with accounts, lending and more.
Financial advisors, investors and banks or credit unions can help with your investing needs. These people really help GROW your money over time.
Besides estate planning attorneys, who else can help protect your money and your assets?
Insurance agents, one that you can trust with helping find true solutions to your problems, can foresee issues before you even have them. As well, for a little bit every month or once a year, your assets are protected fully and correctly.
All of these professionals help grow, save, make and protect your money.
What might be some documents or files you might need to create? What are some other concerns that you likely have concerning your assets and these professionals?
Let’s look at those now…
What recommendations can I make?
Before we get too deep into this part of the article, I want you to know one thing that outweighs nearly every other piece of information, direction or guidance you could ever receive.
Big tip here…
Planning early and completely will be more valuable than anything else you can do.
Planning means the unknowns can be more expected and accounted for. Planning earlier means that when things do happen you can focus on healing, rather than ‘where is that money going to come from???’. Planning early means errors become erased sooner, if they even happen at all.
Below is a list of legal documents and other needs that I list as essential as you get older. Whether you are a millionaire or you only have $1000, these can save you, your family, your children, your spouse and everything that you’ve built and created over your life.
You may not need all of these today, but if you live in Western Pennsylvania, based on my experience, as time goes on, you will. If you are in your 50s or 60s, some you should already have. If you are in your 20s or 30s, things like life insurance policies or irrevocable trusts might not be considered ‘necessary’; frankly speaking, it never hurts to have them in place.
- Last will and testament
- Durable medical power of attorney
- Financial power of attorney
- Irrevocable trust (specifically for your home)
- Life insurance
- Retirement account(s)
- Automated investment account(s)
- Savings account(s)
- Loans for large investments and living (mortgage, as an example)
In a perfect world, we don’t get sick, we always have the resources we need to be comfortable, and we live long, long lives. And, when we die, it happens in a uniform order, without any unexpected issues and problems arising.
But, spoiler alert… this is the real world!
Not everything is perfect.
Not everything is ‘exact’.
The punchline to all of this is that you CAN correct it. Over time you can tailor your actions when it comes to protecting your assets, to meet your needs, and really align these with your goals.
The final recommendation: Guidance from a professional!
Today, we looked at a more holistic approach to handling your money over the course of your life.
I love planning, and I love working with professionals. Not only do things get done faster, but they get done correctly. In fact, they can be considered “evergreen” – you do it once, and it is so solid and fundamentally built, it lasts forever.
For you, I hope you see that having a real money plan in place for your life is essential. As well, having a professional for guidance, answers and real solutions means everything.
To help, I can offer you a free initial evaluation of your plan. And if you don’t have one, I can help you make one. Just call me at (724)60-ELDER, or fill out the form below and claim your conversation today.
Remember, plan now for tomorrow. Use a professional that you trust with your best interests in mind. A true money plan requires estate planning, and a DIY solution just won’t cut it for 99.99% of the world.