Do you dream of retiring some day but feel overwhelmed by the prospect of positioning your finances in the best way possible? My husband and I dream of cruising around the world and visiting with our future grandchildren in our retirement to be. Our youngest child is only 12 so retirement feels like a long way off but it is solidly on our radar. Personally, I am always happy to learn tips to maximize my financial picture so I was thrilled when our October event sponsor offered up some golden nuggets of information.
The prospect of positioning your retirement elements can feel like an enormous task. We’ve all heard the saying, how do you eat an elephant? The answer to that is – one bite at a time! When faced with something that feels insurmountable, it is helpful to break the task up into smaller pieces.
Our October event sponsor Lisa McGrath, of Island Financials LLC, offered up five action steps, or “smaller pieces”, that any of us can use right now towards a successful and comfortable retirement. In the event of a life change, you may encounter additional challenges if your investment and insurance information is scattered and unorganized. As moms we are often tasked with maintaining the financial documents for our families. The goal here with these action items is to get organized, up-to-date and to move forward
Buy a spiral bound notebook to capture all the important information when you have a phone call with the Customer Service Department of any of your financial institutions. Label it “Correspondence Log Book”. Input the information sequentially and keep the dates and conversations organized. Keep it where you normally take and make your important phone calls. Maintain a log of:
- Identify the company or organization called
- Whom you spoke with (all representatives)
- The phone number called
- The operator number and extension
- All conversation confirmation numbers
- Approximate time and specific date the contact was made
If someone has to pick up where you left off as an advocate for you, it is incredibly beneficial to know where to start.
Get your contracts
Have in your possession your printed annuity and Life Insurance contracts and make certain that your “responsible party” is listed as an authorized party. If possible, also secure an electronic copy and send to your “responsible party” for emergencies.
Keep your contact info current
Confirm the mailing addresses and phone numbers listed for each insurance company, asset, and Pension Administrator. Life Insurance and Annuity Contracts CAN BE SOLD BY THE ORIGINAL ISSUER to another insurance company. The contact information that you may have for them may be out of date; make certain you can reach them before it is critical and you are in crisis.
Confirm Beneficiary Information
Confirm your beneficiary information for each insurance company, assest, and pension administrator, and list an “authorized party” that can advocate for you and get key information. After a death is reported, information access to the accounts in question is FROZEN until the death claim is processed.
Have in your possession your Marriage Certificate, Final Divorce Decree, Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO), and/or Property Separation Agreement. You may need two or more of these things as certified copies to change beneficiaries on your husband’s or wive’s various accounts, especially if a former spouse is listed currently. If your spouse has military service, military discharge papers are critical. There are often benefits available to widows under Veteran’s Aid and Assistance.
Getting your financial information organized and up-to-date can definitely brighten your retirement picture. If the above action items overwhelm you, consider partnering with an insurance consultant who can help you sort through and organize your information. A consultant can also give you insight into whether your financial products will meet your goals or not, if these products will manage your risks in the manner that you believe they will and are appropriate for where you are in life at the moment, and in the future.
Please feel free to contact our expert, Lisa McGrath, if you have any questions about the content in this article. Lisa McGrath is the Director of Business Development at Islands Financial, LLC. You may reach Lisa at 404-550-9465. Lisa@islandsfinancial.com.
This is not an affiliate post and Enterprising Moms does not receive compensation for sharing this information.
Sheryl Van Aken is the founder of the Enterprising Moms and runs a travel agency in Milton, GA, called Van Aken Travel -Dream Vacations. She specializes in cruises of all kinds for individuals and groups. She is a certified event planner through Emory University and the Cruise Line International Association.
Sheryl has 4 great children and is happily married to her husband Mike for over 23 years,