By Steven Joshua Samuel JD, MBA, AIF®
Is “getting organized” in 2019 on your list of New Year’s resolutions? It is on my list of resolutions, so, for starters, I created a checklist of health, legal and money issues. I hope you find it helpful!
- Don’t assume that your Primary Care physician will keep you informed about preventive health shots and screening tests that might help you avoid a major illness. For one example, men and women who are at average risk (no family history) for colon cancer, should be screened at 45 years old. According to the Wall Street Journal, you will find a good and well explained list of recommended health screenings at www.betterhealthwhileaging.com.
- Do you have a Health Care Proxy that names someone as your Health Care Agent, to make health decisions for you if and when you cannot make decisions yourself? Have you discussed your preferences for decisions about change of residence (to assisted living, for example), medical treatment and end of life situations with your Health Care Agent?
- Are you confident that your private health plan or Medicare is the right plan and a good value? Senior centers often offer advice on this issue and your trusted legal and financial professional advisors can also serve as a resource for this topic as well.
- Do you know how much money you spend now on the basics of your lifestyle? And what about how much you spend on vacations, helping your children, saving for retirement and other spending you’d like to be able to do? Good estimates will allow you to do the planning necessary to ensure your financial security.
- If you’re not retired yet, do you know how much you’d like to spend during retirement? And, do you know whether your savings and investments are on track to allow you to spend what you’d like during retirement?
- Do you understand the role Social Security and Medicare will play in your specific situation?
- Do you and your family understand your insurance (life, disability, home/property) and know how to evaluate other insurance that might be valuable (long term care)?
- There are many money literacy resources available to help you understand money issues. For example, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants site provides a great deal of free, valuable information. You’ll find it at www.360financialliteracy.org.
- Do you have a Will and Power of Attorney and related documents (Trust for primary residence, Trust for estate tax reduction, burial wishes, for example)? Do you have documents that clearly cover all your financial accounts, personal property and accomplish what you want for you and your family? And do you understand how these documents work?
- Do you know what tax and other documents and records you need to keep on file and for how long?
- Does your family know how to access accounts and bills for vital services (electricity, heat, water, mortgage, insurance)?
- Does your family know how to access your medical information, prescriptions and health insurance if you cannot do so?
- Have you organized your passwords to the sites important to you?
- Are your passwords accessible to a trusted someone in the event you are ill or pass away?
You’re not alone if your life isn’t completely “organized.” Neither is mine, but I’m making headway and hoping to do more in 2019, so that my family doesn’t have to start from scratch if I have an unexpected health issue. Your trusted legal and financial professionals are a good place to start for finding resources to help you make some progress toward achieving your resolutions yourself.
Samuel Financial LLC is located at 858 Washington Street, Dedham, MA 02026 and can be reached at 781.461.6886. Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network, member FINRA/SIPC, a registered investment adviser. Fixed Insurance products and services offered through CES Insurance Agency.