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Posted: August 19, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Remember the basics of financial planning

As someone who has been dealing with finances for decades, I thought I would share some information that may be beneficial to the planning of the readers of The Covington News.

My first thought: Remember the basics!

For over 40 years now, I have used the same questionnaire for my first meeting with an individual or couple. Future articles will address specific matters in more detail, but today, let’s take a look at the basics. Statistics show that over 75% of working Americans don’t have a written retirement plan, so maybe a couple of these questions will catch your attention.

Benefits at Work

- Does your current medical plan permit you to utilize a Health Savings Account (HAS)?
- If a Cafeteria Plan (another name for Flexible Spending Account – FSA) is available are you setting funds aside to pay expenses on a pre-tax basis?
- Are you covered for short and/or long term disability?
- Is a 401-K savings plan available and is there a Roth option? What is your employers matching contribution?

Personal Planning

- Have you protected your and your spouse’s earning power with adequate life insurance? Are your beneficiaries in order?
- If over age 50, have you considered the need for long term care?
- If you are an investor, does your risk tolerance match your current investments and are they allocated properly?
- If nearing retirement, have you reviewed your Social Security filing options?

Estate Planning

Do you have a will? If not, why not? Is there an executor named? How about your Medical and Financial Powers of Attorney? Do you know that divorce invalidates an existing will? If you have minor children, do you have a guardian named for them?
If you die without a will (intestate), the state will write one for you and it’s a fairly good bet the state’s provisions won’t match your wishes.

Mike Lassiter is a Chartered Life Underwriter and Chartered Financial Consultant. He is a Licensed Insurance Counselor and a Registered Investment Advisor. He can be reached locally at 770-786-2781.

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