When you think about financial planning, many think in terms of saving for college or retirement, or investing in the stock market. Sometimes, an overlooked consideration is planning for the unexpected, which can severely impact your ability to generate income and maintain your family’s financial security. Some items to consider:

Plan for the Unexpected

Prepare for Emergencies

Insurance Needs Planning
What would happen to your family if your earned income stopped due to death or disability? If you are a retiree or pre-retiree, what is your plan to pay for long-term care should the need arise? Identifying insurance needs, and the products to fill those needs, are vital in financial planning.

  • Life insurance provides a cash death benefit to your loved ones in case you die early or unexpectedly. These benefits could help your family stay in their home by covering mortgage payments, auto and credit card payments, and other household expenses. It could also protect your children’s dreams by establishing an education fund and/or leaving an inheritance.
  • Disability insurance can provide an important source of income if you are unable to work and earn an income due to a prolonged illness or injury. The amount of insurance that can be purchased depends on the client’s occupation and income level.
  • Planning for the high potential cost of long-term care insurance can be very important to a retirement plan. Long-term care insurance can provide valuable tax free benefits to pay for care.

Learn more about how Benjamin F. Edwards & Co. can help with your needs by reading the Reviewing Life, Long-term Care and Disability Insurance Needs article. Find an advisor near you.

Your Investment NeedsStart an Emergency Fund
Life doesn’t always go as planned. That’s why it’s always good to have an emergency fund that can help cover unexpected expenses. The objective is to accumulate enough money to cover three to six months’ worth of essential expenses, so you can continue paying your bills even if you or your spouse encounter an unexpected financial emergency. If you find it overwhelming to start an emergency fund, here are some ways to get you going.

  • Start Small – It’s tough to set aside that much money all at once, but you can start small and add to the account whenever you get some extra cash, such as a raise or a tax refund. Or your can add your emergency fund contribution to your list of bills, and pay it at the same time. It’s a good idea to set up an automatic deposit and pay yourself first – you won’t miss the money too much because it disappears before you ever see it.
  • Open an Account and Don’t Touch It – Keep the money in an accessible account, such as a money-market account, that is separate from your regular checking account; however it shouldn’t be so easily accessible that you’ll be tempted to make withdrawals for everyday spending. Remember to replenish the account whenever you have to touch it for expenses.
  • Sell Something – To get the fund started, you can look around your house to see what you can convert to cash – exercise equipment, old toys, furniture, etc. You might be surprised what you find.
  • Set Reasonable Milestones – In a few months, you’ll hit that first milestone – and it’ll feel good. But don’t stop there. What’s the next goal? Keep it up.
  • An emergency fund can mean the difference between financial failure and financial success. You’ll need some discipline to build the emergency fund, but it will prepare you for those unexpected setbacks.

Learn more about how Benjamin F. Edwards & Co. can help with your needs. Find an advisor near you.

Loss of a Loved One

Detail of a funeral wreathLosing a loved one can be the most difficult of all events in life. During this emotional time, survivors are often faced with multiple financial and practical decisions. We can assist you with sorting through the various financial issues, prioritizing the ones that require immediate attention and helping you to choose appropriate solutions.

Some areas that your financial consultant can help you with are:

  • Analysis of both short-term and long-term income needs and cash flows for survivors
  • Assistance with the transfer and retitling of financial assets as the estate is settled
  • Discussing alternatives for inherited assets, including retirement assets, life insurance proceeds and other investment assets
  • Providing a legacy for your survivors

Learn more about how Benjamin F. Edwards & Co. can help with your needs by reviewing the Picking up the Pieces article. Find an advisor near you.

Divorce

Going through a divorce is a life changing experience. Along with the emotional impact of a divorce, the financial impact can be significant. Assets must be separated, housing situations will be altered, and, if children are involved, custody and visitation guidelines must be established. It’s a lot to deal with.

Though you may feel overwhelmed with all of the change, it is important to review all aspects of your new economic condition so that you can continue to meet your financial goals. Divorce is more than dividing assets and agreeing on a property settlement, it’s about income and taxes, too. Some things to consider:

  • Strategies for managing your retirement accounts
  • Reviewing health insurance and life insurance coverage
  • How your tax situation may change
  • Creating or updating existing estate planning documents and beneficiary designations

Learn more about how Benjamin F. Edwards & Co. can help with your needs by reviewing the Divorce Checklist. Find an advisor near you.

Benjamin F. Edwards & Co. does not offer health insurance or provide tax advice, therefore it is also important to consult with your tax professional for additional guidance tailored to your specific situation.

Caring for an Elderly Parent

He is my heroTo assist your parents as they age, it’s important to understand their goals and wishes. Initiating this process early will help. Work with your parents to inventory their assets and sources of income. This will allow you and your financial consultant to work together to devise strategies to help your loved one should that time come. Work with your parents to:

  • Review your parents’ income needs and sources to determine if, when and how they need to tap into their portfolio to supplement their cash flow
  • Review their health insurance coverage to make sure it is adequate
  • Determine if they have long-term care coverage. If so, review the specific coverages available
  • If they do not have living wills or health care powers of attorney, talk to your parents about contacting an attorney to have their wishes memorialized
  • Discuss their estate planning details to make sure it is completed and up to date. If not, encourage them to meet with an attorney to formalize their plan
  • Review life insurance coverage

Learn more about how Benjamin F. Edwards & Co. can help with your needs by reviewing the Six Steps Toward Helping Aging Parents article. Find an advisor near you.

Benjamin F. Edwards & Co. does not offer health insurance or provide tax advice, therefore it is also important to consult with your tax professional for additional guidance tailored to your specific situation.

Special Needs Planning

Special Needs PlanningParents with special needs children face serious financial challenges. Not only do they need to pay for a child’s current needs, they need to plan on covering future needs – potentially long after they’re gone. Special needs individuals fall into a wide spectrum of physical, mental and/or emotional disabilities. Many times these individuals require additional medical and social care to be able to live a quality lifestyle.

Some may be entitled to government benefits to help pay for such care. Often those government benefits are “means tested” in that eligibility for the programs can be based on income and assets available to the beneficiary. Through proper planning, you can protect your loved ones, even if you’re not there to provide for them.

Learn more about how Benjamin F. Edwards & Co. can help with your needs. Find an advisor near you.