topic | life planning - legacy

Step 3: how to organize financial information . . .

Determining one's financial status provides the foundation for a financial plan - the key to being prepared, organized, and informed.

The forms below should be used for purposes of capturing information and sharing with family and advisors as appropriate.

Activity 1
: Inventory Assets

  1. List cash accounts, certificates of deposit, money market funds, promissory notes, savings bonds etc. on form Liquid Assets.
  2. List bank and credit union cash accounts on form Accounts.
  3. List stocks, bonds, mutual funds, IRAs, etc. on form Investments.
  4. List household contents, art, antiques, collectibles, jewelry, and items stored outside the home on form Personal Property.
  5. List cars, boats, etc. on form Vehicles.
  6. List real estate property on form Real Estate Records.
  7. List limited partnerships, investment clubs, etc. on Other Assets.
  8. List current and previous job information on Employment Records.
  9. List Life Insurance information on the Life Insurance form.

Best Practices

List beneficiaries for private pension plans, life insurance polices, etc. on the appropriate forms. Having beneficiary designations can help avoid probate.

Activity 2
: Inventory short and long term expenses

  1. List day-to-day bank and credit card accounts on form Accounts.
  2. List automatic deposits/deductions on form Deposits Deductions.
  3. List organization/subscription payments on Dues Subscriptions.
  4. List ongoing donations to charities on form Charities.
  5. Payments made regularly or renewing automatically should be listed on Other Payments.

Activity 3
: Analyze results

The information gathered above can assist in determining:

  • Net asset valuation
  • Monthly expenses and forthcoming changes (up/down)
  • Short term credit card debt
  • Are the monthly expense obligations a problem?
  • Is there enough money allocated for investment growth?
  • Are credit card balances and associated interest rates a burden?
  • Is there a plan to get 'debt free'?
  • What can be cut?
  • What are the retirement plans? Are we on track?

This quick analysis will result in a profound conclusion - that either the current financial plan is sound or in need of review. Now may be the time to have a "tune-up." Financial planning should be guided by a financial advisor.

(if this Step is complete)
to Step 4

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