December 24, 2009
Here's a little advice for Tiger Woods in case he finds himself unexpectedly single...
While the emotional element of losing a spouse is the first and hardest blow, an important next step is looking towards the future and assessing your financial situation. As a single person for the first time in years, there are several steps that can help you effectively manage your financial and household needs.
1) Locate important documents: These include your will, trust documents, insurance policies, deeds, stock/bond certificates and bank/brokerage statements.
2) Re-title your property and financial accounts: Contact your bank and brokerage firm to re-title your accounts and change beneficiaries if necessary.
3) Update your beneficiary designations and estate plan: Have your attorney review your will carefully and make any necessary changes to ensure your current intentions are accurately reflected. You may want to consider establishing a trust to allow for further instruction for the management and disbursement of your assets.
4) Identify retirement money available to you: You may be entitled to retirement assets and you may have a number of alternatives for taking possession or distribution of those assets.
5) Check your credit status.
6) Know your cash-flow needs: Since your household income has most likely changed and probably diminished, start by identifying your necessary expenses that have to be paid promptly, such as your mortgage, utility bills, food and medical expenses.
7) Complete a net worth statement: This will help you identify what you have and what you owe.
8) Review your investment portfolio: What may have worked for you in the past as a couple may no longer make sense for you as an individual.
9) Reassess insurance needs: You should check all insurance policies to see if they still match your current needs and designate your preferred beneficiaries.
10) Lock up the golf clubs and other blunt objects.
While the emotional disturbance of losing a spouse is difficult, looking to the future with a clear understanding of your financial situation will help give you confidence in the years ahead.
(This article contains the current opinions of the author but not necessarily those of Brighton Securities Corp. The author's opinions are subject to change without notice. This blog post is for informational purposes only. Forecasts, estimates, and certain information contained herein should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. References to specific securities and their issuers are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended and should not be interpreted as recommendations to purchase or sell such securities).