This guide is here for those of you who would move Heaven and Earth to protect your family. If you’re anything like me, you’ve put a lot of thought into your home security system, the high-tech baby monitor and even where you should put the baseball bat next to your side of the bed. OK, maybe that’s just me. You’ve probably done a great job protecting your family from “physical” harm, but have you considered what it will take to protect your family and your goals from financial harm?
Step 1: Protect your Income
Your ability to earn income is a close second in importance to your ability to protect your family and your goals. Disability insurance will cover a portion of your income (typically 70-80%) should you become ill or injured and are unable to work.
There is short term disability, covering up to 6 months, and long term disability, covering you for much longer, even your lifetime. The catch is, these can get expensive. Check with your employer first to see if they offer any disability insurance as a benefit. You may very well have a short term disability benefit at no additional cost. Even if that’s not the case, you may be able to purchase some at a reasonable cost. If not, check with whomever handles your home & auto insurance to see what they can offer.
Step 2: Protect your Future Earnings
In line with step 1, your ability to earn an income can be cut short by death. Life Insurance will protect your family and your goals by insuring your future earnings.
You and your family have big plans for that income! It helps fund that annual vacation, or the ability to eat right, or move to your dream home. Purchasing enough term life insurance will place the risk on the insurance company.
Again, check with your employer to see if they offer a group policy as an employee. Group Life Insurance will likely be your cheapest option. Be careful though…if it’s a benefit, it only lasts as long as your are employed with that company. You want to have at least enough to cover your income until your kids are grown and out of the house….at least. Also consider adding the amount of your debts like your mortgage, auto loan or credit card bills.
Step 3: Protect your Assets
Another form of risk that we all have is the risk of liability. Whether we mean to or not, our actions could cause damage to others. Auto and Homeowner’s (or Renter’s) Insurance will allow you to transfer some of that risk to the insurance company.
These policies share the risk with the insurance company in that they promise to pay for those damages to others, up to a certain limit. They will also cover certain damage to your property under certain circumstances.
Ryan Reynolds, an agent with Galt Insurance Group out of Naples, FL, recommends that your homeowner’s policy has a minimum of $300,000 in personal liability limits and your auto policy should cover a minimum of $250,000 for bodily injury per person, $500,000 for bodily injury per accident and $100,000 for property damage.
Also, Ryan recommends that you find a trustworthy, independent agent to review these policies every year to find the best rates and to be sure that all of the necessary provisions are in them.
Step 4: Protect Your Goals
Last, but certainly not least, you should have an emergency savings. Your ability to come up with cash in an emergency is vital to protect your family and your goals. Only about 40% of individuals have what would be described as an emergency fund. If half of us encounter an unexpected expense this year, then the rest of us will probably next year.
How many of you have had to purchase a new refrigerator or repair your roof with a credit card? That $10,000 roof would take you two years, a payment of $500 per month and almost an additional $2,000 of interest (at 18%) just to pay it off.
This savings account is here for exactly what you think, an emergency. It’s there should you lose your job or have an emergency expense, like a flat tire or a broken window. This does not include a broken TV or a last minute anniversary gift (gents). Fill this account with 6 months of your essential living expenses. If you dip into it, stop your other savings immediately and fill it back up.
That leads me to my next tip: Track your spending and keep a budget. It’s easier than ever to spend money. With credit cards, Amazon and Apply Pay, your spending can get out of control FAST. Look back 3, 6 or even 12 months and place every transaction in a category like “Home, Transportation, Entertainment, Career, Food, Personal Care, Health, etc.”. Then, track those expenses going forward on a regular basis. I do it weekly to make sure the expenses are fresh in my mind and it only takes about 5 minutes.
Set automatic transfers to your retirement account and other savings accounts. This keeps you from getting in your own way when the impulse arises to buy something frivolous.
If you already have each of these 4 areas covered, you should celebrate! If not, join the group. I would guess that 90% of you reading this article are missing at least one of these key areas. And that’s OK! Now you have the missing piece (or pieces) that can help pave the way to you and your family’s goals.
Sports Fan, Movie Buff, and Anything Outdoors sums it up. Brad loves spending time with his wife, Ashley, and their two boys. He helps empower people to take control of their money, bringing them the confidence to build the life of their dreams.
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About Matt & Brad
They are identical twins and money experts. Matt and Brad Ruttenberg have, combined, over 2 decades of experience as financial planners. They are known for simplifying money and helping others go from living paycheck to paycheck to thriving financially.
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This communication is strictly intended for individuals residing in the states of Florida, Michigan, Arizona, Nevada, New York, Ohio, and South Carolina. No offers may be made or accepted from any resident outside the specific states referenced. Registered Representative Securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment Advisor Representative Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. The Money Twins and Ruttenberg & Company are not affiliated with Cambridge.