Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Wake Up Call

In the last year, my husband and I have endured a tremendous amount of financial change - unemployment, new job, and buying our first home. Every year or so, I like to do a personal financial strength assessment on USAA (if you're a member, do it! Do it now!). But after not doing one in awhile with so much that had changed, it was a little scary and I decided I really need to get my sh*t together.

What I learned that I can pass to you:

1) Get thee to a lawyer! Doesn't everyone have a friend who is a lawyer these days? Well, use their services to write your will and estate plan. You could even do it on your own by reading some books or heading over to LegalZoom. Bottom line - you should have a plan for the unexpected. Regardless of how much or how little you have, you should make sure your stuff will be taken care of by the appropriate people. Make sure your beneficiaries on your retirement accounts and life insurance policies are updated, too (and match what you put in your will). While you're doing the legal stuff, also look into any medical authorizations you should put in writing and who should make decisions. The Terri Schiavo situation years ago should have put that into perspective for us...

2) Do you know your coverages? Life insurance, disability, homeowners/renters, auto insurance, health insurance....the list is quite staggering. Do you if you're covered? Do you know how much coverage you have? Research your policies and talk to your HR department if you're not sure if you have adequate coverage. This can make a huge difference if something catastrophic happens to you. If you're married, make sure your spouse checks into their stuff, too.

3. Make sure to include debt into your emergency fund - this should have probably been a huge "duh" for me. I included things like our mortgage and car loans, but student loans? Forgot about those. Since we don't have credit card debt, we're all good on that end, but I need to bump up my emergency fund a tad to pay for student loan debt.

Anyone else taken a financial assessment? What do you need to work on?


  1. Consider taking an umbrella insurance policy. It costs only like $100 a year for $1 million in coverage and will totally save you if you do something dumb (or someone else does) and get sued.

    Also, every few years, get a new quote on car insurance. Different companies target different demographics, so as you and your cars age you may find a better deal by switching companies.

  2. I didn't think about your car insurance, BrewerDave. That's a really good call. And I'll definitely look into umbrella coverage. Thanks for the tips!