The following are some ideas and reminders of things you should consider, which may prompt some good next steps.
Beneficiaries for your retirement accounts and life insurance policies: Are the actual designations on the forms what you intend? Have you reviewed them recently?
- It is a good idea to review your beneficiary designation forms every few years, to ensure they reflect your current intent.
- If you want to provide for charitable bequests upon your death and you have retirement accounts, these gifts should be reflected on retirement account designations, not as part of your will/estate planning documents.
Have you enabled the emergency function on iPhones and other devices?
- For iPhone users, if you enable the emergency function within the Health app (which comes with the iPhone) and you are in an accident or incapacitated, a first responder can access critical information from your phone, even if your phone has security codes or Touch ID.
- After going into the Health app, continue to “Medical ID.” Input your name, emergency contacts, and basic health information.
- The Medical ID feature can be accessed without unlocking any other information on your phone. (Thanks to my kids for this recommendation, which I just did).
Do you know whether your financial advisor is a fiduciary?
- We highly recommend that your financial advisor be a fiduciary, which means that all of their advice and recommendations must be in your best interest (even if it is not in theirs or their company’s best interest).
- We are fiduciaries. Most brokers or financial consultants with major brokerage firms and banks are not fiduciaries. The interest of their company can come before your interests. For more information, see this blog post.
- Are you using complex and different passwords?
- Have you recently changed the passwords for some of the websites you use most and for banks and credit cards?
- We highly recommend using an application like 1Password or a comparable password manager, which stores passwords and can automatically enter your passwords and user names for you. For more information, see this blog post, How to Securely and Efficiently Manage Your Passwords.
What is one thing which you are procrastinating on, that if you dealt with it, would enable you to move forward?
- Think about this. We hope this helps you resolve something or move an issue forward. Procrastination can mean it’s important, but you just need to focus on it and determine the next step.
Have you checked your FICO score or your Social Security information?
- FICO scores are important for interest rates on loans and applying for credit. You can get this for free from many credit cards. Email me for more information.
- If you are not yet receiving Social Security, you should go to ssa.gov at least every few years, review your earnings history for accuracy and see a projection of your future benefits. Their website is quite secure and they have now added a second level of verifying your identification.
We hope these are helpful and practical for you and your family.