You might work diligently at building a financial roadmap for your retirement years and a comprehensive estate plan. But you can’t just create these strategies — you also have to communicate them. Specifically, you need to inform your spouse and your grown children what you have in mind for the future — because the more they know, the fewer the surprises that await them down the road. Let’s start with your spouse. Ideally, of course, you and your spouse should have already communicated about your respective ideas for retirement and have come to an agreement on the big issues, such as when you both plan to retire, where you’ll live during retirement, and what you want to do as retirees (volunteer, travel, work part-time and so on).
We’re at the end of another school year. If you have younger kids, you might be thinking about summer camps and other activities. But in the not-too-distant future, your children will be facing a bigger transition as they head off to college. Will you be financially prepared for that day? A college education is a good investment — college graduates earn, on average, $1 million more over their lifetimes than high school graduates, according to a study by Georgetown University — but a bachelor’s degree doesn’t come cheap.
To be successful at investing, some people think they need to “get in on the ground floor” of the next “big thing.” However, instead of waiting for that one “hot” stock that may never come along, consider creating an asset allocation — a mix of investments — that’s appropriate for your needs, goals and risk tolerance. But once you have such a mix, should you keep it intact forever, or will you need to make some changes? And if so, when? To begin with, why is asset allocation important? Different types of investments — growth stocks, income-producing stocks, international stocks, bonds, government securities, real estate investment trusts, and so on — have unique characteristics, so they rarely rise or fall at the same time.
There’s a lot to know about investing, so it’s a good idea to get some professional help. But with so many financial advisors out there, how can you choose one that’s right for you? You may have to interview several prospective financial advisors before deciding on one. When you talk to them, see if you can get a sense of how they might work with you. Specifically, try to answer the following questions: