Discussing family financial matters doesn’t have to be like going to the dentist: you know you have to do it, but who really enjoys it?
As you get together with your spouse, children and parents for the holidays this year, explore the following list of questions to ensure you’re setting good financial examples for your children, as well as ensuring you and your parents have a strategy in place for their retirement years.
Is it better to pay off the mortgage or save more for retirement?
It depends upon your goals for retirement, risk tolerance and other factors. In some circumstances, if you have extra money after you’ve paid your bills, added to your tax-deferred retirement plan and put money away for your children’s college education, it is best to invest your extra money. If you would be more comfortable knowing your home is paid for, then paying off the mortgage may be your best bet.
How do I talk to my elderly parents about their finances?
Don’t wait until a situation arises that forces you to take action. Make sure you know where your parents keep their financial records; be sure to obtain any Powers of Attorney; find out about any estate planning they’ve done; what investments they own; and their plans for healthcare, housing and long term care.
How many credit cards should my family have?
Most families should have no more than two to four per adult.
How do I protect my family if I lose my job?
You should be saving three to six months worth of your expenses in an emergency fund. Build this quickly and save it in a money-market or savings account so that it is readily accessible. Then once you’ve obtained your goal amount, continue to save, but invest in a diversified portfolio of stocks, bonds and cash for potentially higher rates of return. Savings Accounts are FDIC Insured: unlike stocks and bonds which could lose value.
It’s never too early to begin discussing money matters with your family. Just think of the benefits: You help your family prepare for the future while the experience will teach you to prepare for yours!
If you would like additional information about these topics or any other money management strategies to help your family be financially healthy, please call me today at (609) 489-5200.