This is a sponsored column provided by Thomas C. Block a financial representative with Asset Management Group, Inc. courtesy of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). Please submit your questions to him via email.
When thinking about how to protect your livelihood or build the financial resources you will need to live life as desired, it often starts with clarifying what you want to achieve, what you value and how uncertainties can affect plans and aspirations.
To get you on the road to financial security, here are questions 1 through 5 you’ll want to ask first.
- What is important to me?
Clarify what’s truly important to you – the people you care about, the aspirations you have, the things you want to protect, and the support you’d like to give to others. Whether you reflect on this question by yourself, with family members, or alongside a financial professional – answer this first, as it will create the framework around which your financial strategy can be built.
- Who depends on me today and who might depend on me tomorrow?
This question should be at the core of your decision making process and should be answered well before you consider what you may need. Spouses, partners and children are often thought of as the most obvious dependents; however, there can be others – for example, parents, in-laws or siblings who, due to age, disability, or other circumstances, may be unable to care for themselves. Even individuals without a family have dependents – namely, themselves – since their well-being depends on their own ability to earn an income. With your list of current and potential dependents in hand, you will be better prepared to plot your course toward greater financial security.
- Who is providing for my dependents now?
Does someone in your family provide valuable non-financial support to those you care about? Think of the stay-at-home parent – they may not support their family with earned income, but the support they do provide is just as valuable as any paycheck. If a stay-at-home parent were unable to provide that support, it would surely be expensive to replace. Account for all who provide essential financial or non-financial support to your dependents.
- What risks have I overlooked or not fully considered?
People may concentrate on the risk of premature or accidental death and overlook other risks to their well-being and livelihood (for example, a breadwinner unable to work due to illness, an aging parent unable to care for themselves, a retiree dealing with rising healthcare costs, a business owner faced with a succession problem). As you work to construct your strategy, be sure to think broadly about the financial risks you face today, or may face in the future.
- Are my plans flexible enough?
There are ways that financial product solutions can be structured to provide future flexibility and adjust with your evolving needs. When speaking with your financial professional, ask about flexible solutions that can be upgraded (or downsized) as events in your life unfold.
Make sure you come back to my column on April 27th 2016 to read part 2.
Provided by Thomas C. Block a financial representative with Asset Management Group, Inc. courtesy of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). Thomas Block AAMS, AWMA, CRPC is a registered representative of and offers securities and investment advisory services through MML Investors Services, LLC, Member SIPC, 3975 Fair Ridge Drive, Suite 315N, Fairfax, VA 22033, Tel: (703) 218-6765 . Local sales agencies are not subsidiaries of MassMutual or its affiliated companies.
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