A financial strategy provides a roadmap for clients to visualize what it will take to achieve their goals. The plan should utilize the various financial tools and planning methods available providing a sense of security and peace of mind, should the client face adverse financial conditions, family difficulties, unemployment, injury, illness, disability, certain damages or losses, long-term care, retirement and/or death. Most people who invest have some sort of strategy; however, most of these plans have not been put down on paper. Having a written plan identifies goals and objectives, creates a benchmark, and helps to clarify and quantify the task at hand, for both the financial professional and the client.
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Life insurance plays a unique role in financial Management. The principal economic purpose of life insurance is to accumulate capital. Although many people feel that life insurance should not be viewed principally as an investment, other professionals feel differently. Life insurance is, in fact, a superb “investment” vehicle. All conventional investment vehicles may serve the same purpose in some respects, but the unique feature of life insurance is that it assures a desired accumulation at a specific, but uncertain time, namely at the insured’s death. No other investment can make such a guarantee. Life insurance offers a way to replace the loss of income that occurs when someone dies so that surviving family members can maintain their lifestyle. Life insurance is a contract between an individual, the policyowner, and the company or “carrier” that is providing the insurance. If the insured dies while the contract is in force, the insurance company pays a specified sum of money free of income tax—“cash benefits”—to the person or persons named as beneficiaries. Therefore life insurance is often called a financial product that involves “estate creation.”
Choosing the amount of life insurance to purchase is a function of what the underlying needs are. Common needs include funding for final expenses, funeral costs, lingering medical bills and legal fees, probate costs, creation of funds sufficient to offset any federal estate and state inheritance taxes, income replacement of the breadwinner, funding college expenses, buying out business interests, and replacing services at the death of a valued employee. The primary and most recognized purpose of life insurance is to provide financial security for survivors of the insured by replacing the loss of future income for surviving spouses, children, and other dependents.
Cash budgets are prepared from schedules of estimated income and expenditures for the coming year and provide a system of disciplined saving and spending in both the short- and long-term. While most financial plans do not get into budgets, a current budget shows where the money is going and where it can be saved. A budget can help find money for insurance purchases, deposits into savings and investments, and contributions into retirement plans and 529 college savings plans. Just as goals change over one’s lifetime, so will a budget. This is one of the areas that most frequently needs adjusting during an annual review. Typically, the number of income and expense categories increases as assets and debts are accumulated, and there are more family responsibilities.
Of all household expenses, taxes—income, personal property, sales, and employment—may be one of the largest parts of the budget. The annual amount the average household spends on personal taxes can increase by 15% - 25% in a span of three to four years, as income increases. The cost of food, shelter, and transportation are the next most costly expense items in the budget, followed by recreation, personal insurance, pension contributions, household maintenance costs, clothing, gifts, and charitable
An annuity is a contractual agreement between an insurer and a policyholder/annuitant to make periodic payments that continue during the lifetime of the annuitant or for a specified period of time. Annuities can function like a “personal pension.” Annuities can serve several different purposes within a personal financial plan, including:
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The number of people who are financially unprepared for retirement is staggering. One study revealed that more than half of the adults in the U.S. were planning to depend solely on Social Security for retirement income. Another study indicated that the great majority of Americans do not save nearly enough money. This Financial Guide provides you with the information you need to get started on this important task.
It is never too late to start or to improve a retirement plan. This Financial Guide shows you the basics of retirement planning, and will enable you to get started or to revamp an existing plan. Basically, there are three steps to retirement planning:
The world of investing can seem mind-boggling for a beginning investor. How do you decide what type of security to invest in? Should you choose stocks, bonds or a combination of investments? What about mutual funds? How do you choose a particular fund, stock or bond? How do you assess the risk to your money? This Financial Guide provides a starting point for inexperienced investors. It describes how securities markets work, what protections are afforded, the general types of securities available, the interaction of risk and reward and how to select the investments appropriate for your risk tolerance.
How much income would you like to provide, if you were no longer here?
How many years should income be provided after you're gone?
How much debt would you like to pay off immediately?
How much would you like to provide for childcare?
How many children require college funding?
How much would you like to set aside for an emergency fund?
How much personal life insurance do you already have?
Estate planning on your own can be complicated and costly. And the list is endless... state taxes, bureaucracy, probate courts, unfair appraisals, health care concerns, eligibility of heirs, life insurance, IRA's, 401K's, annuities, burial or cremation costs, and intent regarding death-postponing treatment to name a few. Not knowing your legal and financial rights often ends up costing you more in the end. ng a big sale, on-site celebrity, or other event? Be sure to announce it so everybody knows and gets excited about it.
Work one-on-one with a West Oak Financial advisor to design the perfect strategy for you and your family's finance and investment goals.