Financially Preparing for Future Life Events
By Manager of Client Services Lisa Denstorff.
No matter how much you prepare, unexpected events will sometimes cause you financial stress. It could be a new health problem, a sudden job loss, a pandemic, or some other unexpected event. And yet, over our 25+ years of working with clients, we have learned that effective preparation can help you avoid potential problems and undesired outcomes in the future.
For example, we recently assisted a surviving spouse who had NOT been the primary caretaker of the family’s investment and estate planning. Unfortunately, some basic organizational and planning strategies such as beneficiary designations on investment accounts had not been completed. And the result was the need for the surviving spouse to hire a lawyer and work through the probate process – one more challenge to face during the grieving process.
The surviving spouse also reached out to us at SJS. We were able to help organize important financial documents, provide a summary of existing assets and liabilities, collaborate with the estate attorney and accountant, and simplify and consolidate investment accounts. Our new preparations helped design a more diversified investment portfolio.
Now, with proper account titling and beneficiary designations in place, the client can feel confident that one day the assets will pass on appropriately to loved ones or for charitable gifts as intended, without complications to the loved ones.
Example of financial information organization. Source: sweetpapertrail.com
Working through important financial issues (such as applying for Social Security survivors benefits, selling / buying a new home, creating a new estate plan, filing taxes, etc.) is difficult, and can be exacerbated during periods of grief, anxiety, and stress. If we better prepare for these issues in times of relative calm, then we can potentially avoid much of the stress in more troubling times.
What can you do to financially prepare for future life events? We suggest you consider the following:
- Inform a loved one or trusted contact as to where your financial documents are stored
- Prepare a list of assets, custodians, debts, household bills, etc.
- Store or back up this information electronically
- Provide all important documents (will, healthcare power of attorney (POA), trust documents, etc.) to your financial advisor, accountant, estate attorney, etc.
- Review beneficiaries and account registrations annually on all assets
Important Disclosure Information
Advisory services are provided by SJS Investment Services, Inc., a registered investment advisor with the SEC. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. SJS Investment Services does not provide tax advice. Please consult your tax professional for specific advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only.