A New Way To Look At Your Bucket List

When I turned 50 I had an ambitious bucket list. Most of the items on my list were things that I wanted to do “some day”. I quickly realized that “some day” may never come, and that if I ever wanted to check any of my bucket list items off the list that I had better get started.

In fact, some of the most important things on my bucket list were simple, day-to-day things that I was at risk of missing out on if I didn’t make them a priority in my life.

Below is a short video that suggests a different way to look at your bucket list.

 

A New Way to Look at Your Bucket List

 

 

A Financial To Do List for 2019

Photo by Cathryn Lavery on Unsplash

Most New Year’s resolutions are abandoned or forgotten by the end of the month.

If you need confirmation of this fact, just count the cars are in the parking lot at your local YMCA this Saturday and compare that to the number of cars you see a month from now.

Odds are parking at your local Y or gym will be a lot better in a few weeks.

Rather than tell you to save more, spend less or to get your finances in order (a wishy-washy goal list in the first place) let me suggest a short list of specific action items to check off your financial to do list before the year is over.

But why wait? If you apply yourself, you can probably cross these items off your list in the next couple months.

Five things to check off your financial to do list in 2019:

Update your will and estate planning documents. This one has been on your to do list for a long time. Make 2019 the year to get it done.

Besides updating your will, be sure to to review your health care directive, legal powers of attorney, and other documents related to your will and estate plan.

And don’t forget about your digital assets. When you die does your spouse (or anyone) have legal access to your online accounts, email, log in information and other electronic data? You may think they do, but unless you have specific documents in place, odds are good that you don’t.

Get your beneficiary documents in writing. If you have life insurance, brokerage accounts, an IRA, 401k or other types of financial assets, your beneficiary form determines who gets those assets when you die. Your will does not.

Don’t forget about secondary beneficiaries. Your beneficiary documents should include a secondary beneficiary in the event that the primary beneficiary dies before (or at the same time as) you.

Listing no beneficiary or the wrong beneficiary is a mistake that can’t be fixed after you die. Review your beneficiary documents to ensure you have the right primary and secondary beneficiaries on all your retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and other financial assets.

Review your life insurance. Maybe you have more than you need. Maybe you don’t have enough. If you have a term policy that was bought years ago, it could be about to expire.  If you have term insurance at work are you 100% certain that it will still be in force if you are no longer working at that employer, for example if you get sick, separate from service, then die?

Talk to your financial advisor or life insurance agent to review your insurance policies and discuss any next steps.

Freeze your credit. The only sure way to prevent another person from taking out credit in your name is to place a freeze at each of the major credit agencies. These include Experian, Transunion, Equifax and Innovis.

A quick tip: When you freeze your credit, you will get a password that will be required if you choose to unfreeze your credit in the future. Save your passwords in a super secure place where they won’t get stolen, lost or forgotten. I suggest a safe-deposit box.

Review your financial plan. Last time you looked your financial plan may have been based on account values that were at all-time highs. Now that the markets have come down, how are you positioned for retirement?

Your retirement probably hasn’t been threatened by the recent market downturn, but what if markets decline further?  Do a stress test to see if how your retirement goals will be affected and make adjustments accordingly.

Filing Your FAFSA Form Online? There’s An App For That.

3rd in a series

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Today I’m featuring a guest post by Jeannie Burlowski, author of the book LAUNCH: How to Get Your Kids Through College Debt-Free and Into Jobs They Love Afterward. You can see over 50 reviews of LAUNCH here.

Are you parenting a student of any age who’ll be in college next fall? If so, one of your most important tasks this year will be to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon after October 1st as possible. This applies to every student and every parent—no exceptions.

Are you convinced that for you, filling out the FAFSA will be a waste of time—because you make far too much money to qualify for any college aid? Check out this article on 7 Reasons to Fill Out FAFSA Even if You’re Rich.

And then get out your smartphone.

As of October 1st, 2018, you can fill out the FAFSA on your phone.

For years, students and parents filling out the FAFSA were required to complete the form using desktop computers. In 2018, though, a new, mobile-friendly version of FAFSA was released.

Here, 8 things you’ll need to know before you fill out the FAFSA on your phone.

A Cautionary Tale About Student Loan Debt

Second in a series

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Every fall I do college planning workshops for parents of college-bound high school students to help them pay less for college. My goal is to give them the tools and information they need to become smarter consumers of a college education so they can make better choices for themselves and their kids.

After one of my presentations a woman came up to me and told me that she wished someone had giver her or her parents this information when she was in school. She went on to say that even as her daughter was about to graduate from high school she was still struggling to pay off her own student loan debt.

Suddenly, the concept of student loan debt became very real, very fast.

How Your Social Security Benefits Are Calculated

1st in a series

August 14th marks the 83rd Anniversary of Social Security. To mark the milestone I will be posting additional content throughout the month of August regarding social security benefits and how it effects your retirement plan.

To kick things off, check out this short video describing how your social security retirement benefits are calculated and why it may pay to wait.