A Checklist for Financial Planning

I was given the opportunity to review financial planning services, however all thoughts and opinions are solely my own!

Are you a list maker?  Maybe it’s a checklist or a to-do list.  Don’t you love the feeling of crossing items off those lists?

When we began our financial and future planning journey with our advisor, we made one of the most important lists we’ve ever made.  With his help, we’ve started crossing off some big items. Here’s a list of things we’ve been working on.

checklist for financial planning

Our Financial Planning Checklist

Life Insurance 

A year ago, my husband retired from the Military after almost 15 years of service.  Life insurance never needed to be a topic of conversation because he had us taken care of through his military benefits. However, once he retired, he no longer received those benefits.  This meant neither he nor I had life insurance anymore.

With two small children, having no life insurance coverage was not okay.  Our advisor made that very clear. It was priority number one for us.

Figuring out how to go about getting proper life insurance can be frustrating and stressful.  There are so many little criteria.  How much coverage do you want? What is the monthly premium? How do you go about getting approved? What do you do to schedule the health exams?  Do you want life insurance coverage for your kids as well?  

Our advisor walked us through step by step.  He broke down each premium based on the amount of coverage.  He got us in contact with the health exam provider.  If we needed a paper signed, our advisor would either send it over electronically if he could or he’d go out of his way to get the document to us personally.

It feels good to know that in the event something were to happen we have taken the steps to make sure our family will be protected.  Our advisor was a huge part in making that possible.  

Disability Coverage

This coverage tied into our conversations often as we were putting our life insurance policy into place. At this time, my husband and I decided not to add this to our plan. We recommend you consider all options, like we did, before making that decision.  Our advisor did a great job providing us with situations as to why this would be a beneficial part of our coverage.  He also informed us as to why it might not be necessary.  It was very helpful listening to both sides.  Just because we opted out of it at this time does not mean we won’t add it at some point. 

Investments

When it came to investing in our future, we were clueless.  That’s just the truth. We had no idea how to go about making sure that we had the correct retirement accounts set-up.  I had been making small monthly contributions to a 401K plan and Mitch always had his military benefits, until he retired.

We knew the small amount I was putting into my 401K wasn’t even close to enough for two adults in their mid-thirties.  But our advisor never once made us feel guilty about not being more proactive.  He said the time to start is now.  So that’s what we did.

He advised Mitch to look into what his employer offered for retirement plans.  We found out that his company matches contributions up to a certain percent.  Our advisor told us that was basically ‘free money’ in a way so Mitch quickly began an account with them. He told me to continue making the contributions to my 401K  for the time being.  Then, we talked about how in the future we may make some changes to it and up the amount that I’m contributing.  

The guidance he provided has been extremely beneficial.  We now feel as though we finally have a good plan in place to save for our future.

Saving for our Kids

The biggest question we had for our advisor was when was the best time to start saving for our kids future.  Is it something we should make a priority right now?  Is it something we should focus on after we’ve taken more control over our own financial plan?  He gave us some good insight, but ultimately he told us it was our decision.

My husband and I talked about it.  We decided that because our kids are still young it is more important for us to focus on our own financial freedom at this time before we begin putting money away for them. Right now we have savings accounts open for both of our kids to deposit any money they are gifted from others. And when the time is right we will work with our advisor on the best plan to put money away for their future.  

Budgeting

Putting together a monthly budget has been something my husband and I have tried to do for months.  For some reason, we couldn’t stick to it.  As the ‘money person’ in our relationship, it was always so frustrating! We’d go over budget in more than one area.  Sometimes we’d go so over budget that I’d have to pull from our emergency fund or savings account just to pay a bill.  Not proud to admit it…but it’s the truth.

Luckily, our advisor stepped in an helped us immensely with this.  So much so that for the past few months I am proud to say that we have stuck to our budget and even came out money ahead a few times.  

One of the biggest eye openers for us after talking with our advisor was how we could live off of less when we focused on putting more towards our debt.  He took our monthly income and helped us put together a budget that we could stick with and that tied into our debt payback plan.

Financial freedom is available to those who learn about it and work for it. – Robert T. Kiyosaki

I couldn’t agree more. Working with a financial advisor has made all the difference for us in working toward financial freedom!

Interested in finding out more about financial planning? Check out these great posts!

Ashley is a ‘small town’ girl who moved to the ‘big city’ of Cedar Rapids after high school. A graduate of Coe College, Ashley is currently a kindergarten teacher and a true lover of yoga pants, cozy sweatshirts, chai tea lattes and cookie dough. Ashley and her husband, Mitch, first met each other back in middle school, dated when they were freshmen in high school, then reconnected one final time via Facebook back in 2006 shortly after Mitch returned from his first deployment. They've stood by their vows of ‘for better or worse,’ and as they approach their 10 year wedding anniversary, they aren’t afraid to admit that marriage isn’t easy. They welcomed their first child, Stella Grace Bass, in May of 2013 and their second child, Archer Mitchell Bass, in December of 2017!