Planning for long-term financial security is a lifetime journey. Developing the skills and having the proper tools can be a challenge. Knowing where to turn for advice and who to trust is equally daunting.
We are living longer and saving less, our health care costs threaten our accumulated resources, older people are remaining in the workforce, and the government insurance programs of Social Security and Medicare are threatened with future insolvency. Yet fewer than one in four people have taken the time to calculate their financial needs for the time they expect to live and the lifestyle they hope to maintain.
The financial marketplace is complex, health and long-term care issues are costly and uncertain. The need for individuals to take as much responsibility as possible for their financial futures is paramount. Employers are shifting the risk of pensions and health insurance costs to employees. And 401(k)-type plans and other savings vehicles are not utilized for maximum benefit.
Preparing for a lifetime of financial security demands vigilant effort regardless of your age, income, or wealth status, whether you are building, managing, or protecting what you have. Here are a few tips:
• Choose a clear, realistic course that is uniquely yours. What is good for someone else may not be good for you. Course corrections will be required; navigate as you go.
• Avoid unnecessary and uninformed risks. Protect against loss that you cannot afford to lose, e.g., life, health, home, etc.
• Be practical and prudent in managing your affairs. Reduce or eliminate consumer debt, spend less than your income and save religiously, invest in what you know and understand, diversify your holdings.
• There are excellent advisors and professionals who can assist you. Research their credentials, reputation, and performance. Understand how they are paid and what you want them to do for you. Will they put your interests above their own?
• Be responsible for your financial affairs. If you delegate, hold people accountable for their actions and results. Never abdicate your responsibility to others. In case of incapacitation, seek counsel with those who have no financial stake in your estate. Get second opinions.
• Protect your efforts diligently. Avoid scams by rejecting sales calls, solicitations for personal information, and limiting access to your credit reports and identity. Resist the temptation to obtain something you haven’t earned or worked for. Know who you can trust and why.
If you have prepared well, you have a higher chance of success when unforeseen events derail your journey. With effort and discipline, you have a good chance of arriving safely.
Schedule a free Lifetime Financial Security presentation for your business, civic, religious, or social group, or order a complimentary copy of Utah's Resource Guide for Lifetime Financial Security, Take Charge of Your Future Now! by contacting Gail Goodwin at the AARP Utah state office at 866-448-3616.