According to a recent study, more than half of all women are now the Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) for their households. And given that a growing number of women are also the primary breadwinners, it’s no wonder.* But how are you supposed to manage it all, while balancing your career and family? The first step is to get organized.
In the case of an emergency, effective recordkeeping allows you or your loved ones to access the policies, accounts and other documents needed quickly and easily. Plus, it can also help avoid any surprises that can come with bills left unpaid.
An orderly system also enables you to manage your wealth more effectively. Having all of your financial information in one place allows you to see your true wealth (assets and liabilities) from a holistic perspective. And this can help you to make more effective and more efficient financial decisions.
Step 1—Get organized
Start by gathering vital information about your family and making an inventory of your critical documents. You want to know what you own, what you owe and how you are protected against certain risks. Regular updating of this list will help you stay current on your financial situation. You should include:
- Wills, Trusts, and insurance policies
- All financial account information and passwords
- Information on monthly bills and debt
- Passwords, combinations and key locations for security systems, safes or safe deposit boxes
- Healthcare directives, power of attorney, family information—and more
One option to consider is using an online organizing system such as Everplans. Everplans is an easy-to-access, secure digital archive where you can store everything described above throughout your life. And, at Gasber Financial we believe so strongly in organizing that we provide all clients with access to their own Everplan account. Find out more at www.everplans.com.
Step 2—Stay up to date
Having everything in one place makes it easy for you to routinely review your will and other documents.
- Make sure your retirement plan beneficiaries are up to date—this is critical because beneficiary designations generally take precedence over almost everything else, including the terms of a will. Retirement plans include workplace 401(k)s, 403(b)s, 457s, as well as IRAs, Roth IRAs and annuities
- Ensure your home, auto and life insurance policies are up to date, so they include only the appropriate parties, property, and beneficiaries
- Revise your will to represent any changes in your wishes
Step 3—Ask for help
If this seems overwhelming to you, don’t be afraid to ask for help and don’t feel bad if you need it. Very few people cut their own hair or handle their own legal needs—and this is no different. Sometimes you just need an objective professional to help you and that’s what we’re here for.
* Allianz Women, Money, and Power Study, Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, October 2016