Establishing a personal financial strategy and financial goals can seem like a daunting task, making it easy to put off. Before putting pen to paper, selecting products or services, or even meeting with a financial professional, it’s helpful to step back and ask yourself some probing questions. But the real challenge lies in finding the right ones to ask.
To meet this important need, MassMutual Financial Group has developed an educational tool – the “Top 10 Questions” – aimed at helping consumers gain greater insight into the insurance and financial needs associated with their current lifestyle, as well as their future goals and aspirations.
The 10 Top Questions are as follows:
- What is important to me? Before even thinking about the right financial products for your needs, clarify what’s truly important to you: the people whom you care about, the aspirations you have, the things you want to protect and the support you’d like to give to others.
- Who depends on me today, and who might depend on me tomorrow? Think carefully about who depends on you, both now and in the future. While spouses and children are commonly thought of as the most obvious dependents, there can be others who may be overlooked, including parents, in-laws or siblings.
- Who is providing for my dependents now? Have you considered whether there is someone in your family who provides non-financial, but invaluable, support to those whom you care about? It’s important to make sure that you account for all of the people who provide essential financial or non-financial support to your dependents.
- What risks have I overlooked or not fully considered? People sometimes concentrate on the risk of premature or accidental death to the point where they actually overlook other, more likely risks to their well being and livelihood. Be sure to think broadly about the financial risks you face today or may face in the future.
- Are my plans flexible enough? To build a strategy that will stand the test of time, it must be flexible to adapt to changing needs you may not anticipate. When speaking with your financial professional, ask about flexible solutions that can be altered as events in your life unfold.
- How do I pick the right financial professional to work with me? When choosing a financial professional, work with someone who is not only competent, but also inspires your trust and confidence. The best financial professionals are good listeners who seek to fully understand your circumstances and financial objectives before ever proposing possible solutions.
- How do I pick the right financial services company to work with? Just as you’ll want to align yourself with a strong, reputable financial professional, you’ll want to do the same with regard to financial services companies. In many cases, their products will be used to address financial needs and objectives that last for decades, if not a lifetime, so it is important to select a company with top financial strength ratings.
- What if I already have a plan? If you have a plan, you’re already ahead of the game. However, even the best financial strategies should be revisited and updated regularly – generally at least once a year.
- What’s the downside of putting this all off? Without a personal financial strategy we put our families and ourselves at risk. By being conscious of these pitfalls, you can overcome them.
- So what am I waiting for? You should now understand how to avoid the common pitfalls that lead some to take what is perhaps the greatest risk of all – the risk of doing nothing.