October is Financial Planning month and around the nation cities are hosting free Financial Planning Days. The events are a combined effort of four non-profit organizations: Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Financial Planning Association, Foundation for Financial Planning and the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Local CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals volunteer their time to offer free advice in one-on-one sessions or workshops. If you cannot attend your local event or do not have one in your area, it is a good time to do your own financial tune-up.

Know Where You Stand
The first step is to evaluate your current situation. Just like using a navigation system to find the best route to your destination, you need to know your starting point. There are four keystones to a comprehensive financial review.
Image showing the 4 keystones to a comprehensive financial review
1. Goals and Concerns: Evaluate where you want to be and any potential road blocks along the way.
2. Net Worth: As the foundation of achieving your financial dreams, get an idea of what you have today. Gather your financial statements, review your budget, assess your debt and evaluate your savings strategy.
3. Risk: Protect yourself and your family from potential threats to your financial future. Do you have adequate insurance coverage? Are your assets held in proper title?
4. Documents: Have key documents in place such as a revocable trust, will, health care directive and power of attorney. These should be reviewed periodically as your life circumstances and wishes may change over time.

Planning tip – Keep all your financial and estate documents in a binder stored in a safe place. In the event of an emergency the information will be easy for your loved ones to find.

Financial Planning Checklist
There are basic components that should be part of everyone’s financial plan.

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◾ Periodically review your spending to determine if you are on track with your budget.
◾ Build your emergency fund to cover any large unexpected expenses.
◾ Max out your retirement savings through 401(k)s or IRAs.
◾ Devise a strategy for major purchases, college education funding or paying down debt.
◾ Work with your financial advisor to review your investment allocation: Are you taking on too much risk? Or not taking enough risk to keep up with inflation?
◾ Discuss with your professional advisor tax planning and ways to reduce your taxes.

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◾ Make sure you have enough liability coverage: umbrella, homeowners, auto, etc.
◾ Assess your disability insurance coverage: Would you be financially sound if you could not work for an extended period of time?
◾ Long-term care coverage: Health costs are one of the biggest risks to a retirement nest egg. Consider long-term care coverage not only for yourself but also your parents.
◾ Health care directive and power of attorney documents should be easily accessible. Discuss your wishes and where the documents are stored.
◾ Confirm your assets are held in proper title such as a trust or business entity.

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◾ Review your revocable trust and the trust is properly funded.
◾ A will is important for items not addressed via the trust such as naming a guardian for young children.
◾ Evaluate your life insurance: Do you have enough coverage? Are you paying too much?

Sources: www.financialplanningdays.org