Financial Planning for Major Life Events: What You Need to Know


For many people, financial planning may not appear to be an absolute necessity. However, anyone can benefit from a bit of financial planning to improve their finances, particularly in terms of major life events. Certain monumental events in your life can benefit from the advice of a financial planner. If you are approaching one of these events, here is more information about how you can adjust your financial plan to best suit your future finances.

Establishing a Financial Plan

The first step toward improving your finances is to establish a basic financial plan, which would include a detailed look at your expense budget and income sources, including any ability to save money above and beyond your expenses. But it is important to keep mind that your financial plan should have some flexibility in order to accommodate changes in your life. You will need to make a point of reassessing your financial plan before and after important life events in order to ensure that they still meet your needs and help you on the path toward achieving your financial goals.

Getting Married (Or Divorcing Your Spouse)

Couples are waiting longer than ever to tie the knot in today’s world, and with that delay in getting married comes more complex finances. If you wait to get married until you are in your 30s or even later, you and your partner will likely already have a substantial financial base involving multiple bank accounts, credit cards, and maybe even retirement accounts. Prior to your marriage, you might consider working with a lawyer to put a prenuptial agreement together, particularly if either you or your partner is entering into the marriage with children or substantial investments. While this notion may not be romantic, it can protect you financially. Not every couple chooses to combine their finances, but if you do decide to do so, it could turn into a complex process that could benefit from working with a financial planner.

Similarly, if you are going through a divorce, there are a number of important financial considerations that will need to be handled, such as updating your will, ensuring that your investments are protected, and changing your insurance policies, and beneficiary designations on various accounts or policies. These tasks should be handled by a financial professional in order to protect your interests, save time, and avoid mistakes.

Starting a Family

Having children can prove to be an expensive proposition, not only in regards to the immediate costs such as hospital bills, prenatal care, and baby clothes but also with regards to future costs such as college tuition. If you plan to have a baby is in the future, it is worth discussing your finances with a financial planner in order to ensure that you have a healthy financial plan in place prior to having a child. You will need to update and adjust your will and insurance policies and make sure you have planned for new expenses, which are all things that a financial professional can help you to navigate. In addition to these immediate expenses, it may be a good time to start a college savings fund for your new child, particularly when you consider the cost of a college education today.

Obtaining An Inheritance

If you receive an inheritance from a family member, it is unquestionably a major event that you should discuss with a financial planner. You will want to ensure that you minimize the tax consequences that receiving an inheritance can bring, particularly if it is in the form of a lump sum. A financial professional can provide you with guidance in handling this sudden influx of cash so that you can put it to good use for your own personal financial situation. They can advise you on how to adjust your spending habits and provide you with advice on where to invest your money.

Starting Your Own Small Business

Starting a small business can mean significant changes to your financial situation, as well. You should try to work with an accountant or financial planner who has experience in dealing with small businesses or with the particular type of business you are in so that you can obtain relevant advice for the specific size and type of business you are starting. A significant amount of time will be required to decide on the structure of your business, to register a name, and to obtain an employer identification number (EIN) for tax purposes. Depending on the eventual size of your business, you might also need to look for an attorney and accountant and financial planner.

Approaching Retirement

While you have hopefully been preparing for retirement long before you approach retirement age, it is absolutely critical that you consult with a financial professional as you approach retirement. An advisor can help you to maximize your investments and manage the transition to income production for life-which will replace all or a good part of your earnings from your job. Tax planning is also critical for most pre-retirees.  It can also prove helpful to meet regularly with a financial planner in order to reassess your retirement savings, particularly during your peak earning years (typically during your 40s and 50s, although it can be different). Mismanaging your assets during this critical time could prove detrimental to your overall retirement savings. A financial planner can help you to reassess your investments, create a budget, and determine how much you will need in order to achieve the retirement that you want.

Published by Robert Ryerson

A financial professional with more than three decades of experience, Robert Ryerson works closely with clients in the Freehold, New Jersey, area to meet their financial planning needs. As a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) at New Century Planning, he focuses on retirement income planning, as well as estate administration, regularly assisting his clients with legacy and estate planning. He also advises them on health and disability insurance, including Medicare, Medicaid, and Medicare Supplement Plans. Mr. Ryerson’s many years helping his clients navigate the complexities of retirement planning gave him a deeper understanding of the healthcare costs that retirees face. In 2013, he drew upon this knowledge to co-author the book What You Don’t Know About Retirement Will Hurt You. Outside of his work at New Century Planning, Robert M. Ryerson is a regular fixture at workshops and seminars on retirement. He has delivered several keynote speeches on the often-confusing topic of required minimum distributions. Mr. Ryerson continues to share his financial expertise as a facilitator of online courses for Certified Public Accountants through The Society for Financial Awareness. In the early 2010s, Mr. Ryerson became concerned about the threat of identity theft after noting the many cybersecurity breaches suffered by major companies. He became a Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist (CITRMS) in 2014. He has since taught identity theft recovery courses at local community colleges. Mr. Ryerson also wrote a book on the topic entitled What’s the Deal with Identity Theft: A Plain English Look at Our Fastest Growing Crime. A graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in economics, Mr. Ryerson began his career in the financial services industry as a stockbroker. He obtained his CFP designation in 1991 and began working as an independent financial planner a few years later. In addition, he is a notary public.

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