• Michael Hicks

Taking Control of Your Finances in 2021

The start of a new year gives us all a chance to hit the reset button and start new goals. 2020 was a year of many challenges for all, but the good news is we survived! 2021 will continue to present us with challenges, some carried over from 2020 and as always, there will be some new ones for sure.


That’s okay, because if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we are all survivors! So let's take 2021 by the horns and set a goal to be proactive with our financial security! It’s not as hard as you might think! We all get caught in the daily grind of going to work, making money, and paying our bills on a weekly basis and there is nothing wrong with that. It keeps us moving forward. The problem is we often forget to think about the “what if’s,” of life.

  • What if something happens to me?

  • What if I become permanently disabled and can’t work?

  • Will I have enough money to pay my bills?

  • What if I die?

  • Will my family be able to survive financially without me?

  • Do I have enough money to retire?

  • What if I want to retire early?


All legitimate concerns, but ones we don’t like to think about. It’s not “fun.” It doesn’t make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. The problem is people get injured every day. People die unexpectedly every day. People want to retire every day, but they don’t have enough money to live on. The reality is tomorrow is never promised to ANYONE. We like to think, “Oh that’s not going to happen to me.” But what if it does? We all need to be responsible and be prepared. The US Marines have a saying: “A failure to plan is a plan to fail.” So how do we get there? How do we make it so we can sleep at night and not worry so much about all the, “what if’s?”


FINANCIAL PROTECTION


Just like anything else in life, the best laid plans are the ones well thought out, written down, and put into place. Let’s start with financial protection. That’s the most important plan to have in place. How do we protect our loved ones from financial ruin if something happens to us? How do we ensure that if something happens to us they will be financially okay? The answer is we insure ourselves. That’s how.


Let me ask you this…. If you had an ATM machine in the basement that spit out $50,000 a year, how much would you insure it for? We HAVE to insure our home and our cars, right? Who is the ATM in your life? IT’s YOU! You go to work and bring home a paycheck. Whether you make 30k a year or 200k a year, YOU”RE the ATM machine! Why wouldn’t you insure that?


So that’s step one. Start with the insurance. Make absolutely certain that if something happens to you your loved ones will be protected. Once you have that in place you can move on to retirement and other things.


Now, you might say, “I’m covered at work, I don’t need any more insurance.” Well that’s great! It’s great that some employers, including our government, care enough about their employees to provide that benefit!

  • But is it enough?

  • Does it pay off the mortgage and any other debt your family might be responsible for?

  • Does it get your kids through college?

  • Does it pay for final expenses?

  • Does it replace your income in the ensuing years so your spouse doesn’t have to get a job or a second job?

  • Does it cover an emergency fund if the roof starts leaking a month after you’re gone?


The answer is almost always NO, not even close! And what happens to that insurance if you separate from the company or military? That includes retirement when you're older and maybe not as healthy as you are now? The answer is, IT’S GONE. Life insurance is all about age and health. The younger and healthier you are, the more affordable it is. You might be surprised to know that to insure a healthy 20 something for half a million dollars can be as little as $15 a month. That’s $180 a year to ensure the financial well-being of your family.


WELL WORTH the investment, right?


SOLID FINANCIAL PLAN


A solid financial plan includes other things as well. Insuring against disability, protecting your family and your assets as you get older, saving for retirement, and other important details. A good financial planner will guide you through it all and help you formulate a good plan. When seeking out someone who is right for you make sure they’re a good “fit.” This person is someone who should be involved with you periodically throughout the years because life isn’t static. Things change. Jobs change. People get married. People have kids. People’s goals change.


You want someone that you can work with easily and whom it doesn’t pain you to speak with. (That includes draining your bank account with fees). You should also do your homework. Make sure they are connected with a reputable company with good ratings and a long history of financial strength and security. Mutual companies, (as opposed to publicly traded companies), don’t answer to stockholders, so when they turn a profit, that money gets distributed to their client’s in the form of a dividend, not to a stockholder’s wallet. Life insurance companies can insure your investments so that you don’t lose your initial investment if the stock market goes south for a period of time like it did in 08. (Ask the people that wanted to retire in that year if they wished they had some assurances like that).


The point is, be prepared for anything! It’s not hard when you find the right person to help. Set the goal and make 2021 your most proactive year yet! It’s as easy as a phone call! The peace of mind it will bring you is priceless.


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Thank you to the Caserta family for standing in the gap and fighting for change. https://www.timesunion.com/news/amp/It-s-so-personal-How-military-families-are-15426715.php

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