In journalism, writers like to use the 5 W's. In investments and financial planning, the 5 W's also come in handy.
WHO: Who are the advisors you are dealing with? What are their credentials and work experiences? Are they willing to work together for your benefit?
WHAT: What are you trying to accomplish? Avoid probate? Leave a legacy to a charitable organization? Spend every dime and leave the kids nothing?
WHEN: When are you going to get organized? How about now? Start your financial planning by explaining your goals to your advisors and then monitoring those goals every so often. Your advisors probably have paperwork or a computer program that may help.
For instance, if you are wanting to retire at 62 instead of 65, will you have enough income to last your lifetime? If you are young and have another child, will that require more life insurance?
WHERE: Where do you start? Get a box and start throwing stuff into it like wills, trusts, life insurance policies, deeds, brokerage statements, tax returns, etc. Then take it to your financial advisor and start the process of cleaning up the mess and getting organized.
WHY: Why should you care? Well, it's your choice. I believe it's best to spend a little time and
maybe money doing itright. The mess you leave reflects on you and your family.
So, help them out today. They will thank you and think well of you in the future.
It would be a shame to forget a benefit you've worked hard to earn and not have it passed along.
To start the WHO process, go to http://raymondjames.com/LWR/QuestionsforanAdvisor.aspx.
James "Jim" Zientara, a financial planner and branch manager with Raymond James Financial Services Inc. in Lakewood Ranch, can be reached at 941-750-6818.