Most people agree they need some financial strategy to afford to live comfortably. Many people make elaborate financial plans, while others struggle from paycheck to paycheck. A new trend has emerged, which has gained in popularity among those who believe that all aspects of life should be integrated for maximum satisfaction. The trend is called full-life financial planning.
Creating a Customized Plan
Full life financial planning formulates a comprehensive plan that considers a person’s economic priorities, goals, and stage of life. These plans craft a strategy to meet each financial decision, as well as their daily monetary expenses. Because the plan attempts to cover any eventuality, it also makes allowances for unexpected costs.
The cornerstone of this type of planning involves a basic monthly and weekly budget based on your current income and assets. To provide security for the future, you should save part of your weekly income. A third essential component is developing a strategy to manage debts.
Having an emergency fund is also essential so your overall financial plan doesn’t become disrupted by an emergency. Financial experts recommend you keep three to six months’ expenses in the emergency fund. Here are some events that may impact your financial plan and which parts of the plan they might affect:
1. Remaining Well Documented
Before beginning full-life financial planning, you may have needed to have been keeping detailed personal financial records. However, one of the hallmarks of this new financial strategy includes accurate financial records. Whether you use a software program or an old-fashioned ledger, keep a record of your assets, monthly expenses, and debts.
Financial experts suggest keeping a file folder for each category of monetary transaction. For example, you might have a copy of the title, insurance, and registration for your car. In that same file, you could place auto maintenance records. You can also have a file folder for insurance policies, including health, life, dental, and pharmacy insurance policies.
Other types of expenses include home maintenance expenses – including a list of your contractors and their contact information. If you’re involved in any legal matters, keeping a file on those transactions will assist you in monitoring the case’s progress. Once the case has been closed, any correspondence or records from your personal injury law firm should be kept on file.
2. Paying Bail Bonds
Paying bail for yourself or a family member will allow someone to stay out of jail. A judge sets the amount, which is usually too high for someone to pay alone. To overcome that problem, you would pay a percentage of the bail to a bail bondsman. The bail bondsman then pays the full bail amount to the court.
Bail is charged by the court to require you to attend all future court appearances. If you attend all future court appearances and then obey the judge’s conditions, your full bail will be refunded to the bail bond agents. You will not get the funds from your bail bond refunded to you.
Paying for bail is an example of an expense that can be taken from your emergency fund. After the court case is over, part of the aftermath of the case would be for you to replenish your emergency fund. It may feel challenging to build that fund back up, but that fund will be necessary for your next emergency.
3. Getting Compensation After Injuries
If you are injured, you may need medical care, and be unable to work. Whatever the reason for your injury, you must hold the responsible person accountable, so you’ll want to work with a personal injury attorney. Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, meaning you don’t have to pay them if you don’t win your court case.
When the court case is over, you’ll be provided with the money awarded by the court. You will owe a fee to your lawyer. The fee will be a percentage of the money you were awarded. The attorney’s fee will usually include court costs and filing fees. Before you sign an agreement with an attorney, be sure you understand all the costs included in their fee, so you’re not surprised at how much of your court settlement you’ll have to pay to the attorneys.
Depending on the extent of your injuries, you may be unable to work. After the injury, contact your employer as soon as you can, so they can assist you with filing a disability claim. Since disability funds are not immediately paid, your living expenses may need to come from your emergency fund.
4. Staying Safe Physically and Financially
Being involved in a car accident can be overwhelming. Your car may be damaged, and you may be injured. You may have to pay for the other driver’s expenses if you were found at fault for the accident. All these factors will make an impact on your full life financial planning.
You must find a good team of car accident attorneys to help you understand all the financial and legal complications. These professionals are knowledgeable about the laws of your state and can help you to file any needed reports and forms to make an accident claim or navigate any legal issues. They will work closely with you and your insurance company to process your claim, negotiate with your insurance company, and represent you in any lawsuit against the other driver.
Accident injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, as personal injury lawyers do. Therefore, their fee won’t disrupt your full life financial planning. Any expenses you incur while waiting for your insurance or court settlement must come from your emergency fund. Using emergency funds will be especially necessary if you are temporarily unable to work due to a car accident.
5. Representing You When You Need Assistance
If the car accident was judged to be your fault, you will also need additional assistance to weather the financial implications of the experience. In addition to wading through the claim forms for your insurance and getting your car fixed, you will be going to court. The other driver may sue you for damages and medical costs. You will also need someone to defend you against a charge of reckless driving or driving while intoxicated.
Legal experts recommend saying as little as possible to the police at the accident scene. Even if you’re trying to defend yourself or protest the police’s charges verbally, give your information and then go home, unless your car must be towed. Because of the implications of these legal charges, a car accident attorney may not be the best choice to defend you. A criminal attorney would be a better choice to help you protect yourself.
Criminal attorneys don’t typically work on contingency. They will generally charge you a fee, for which they will request a portion (called a retainer) before they begin working on your case. This process can be overwhelming, but don’t allow it to derail you or significantly impact your full life financial planning.
6. Managing Your Estate and Bequests
Since your full life financial planning includes planning for your future, estate planning must be included. It may feel awkward to prepare for your death, but by doing so, you can decide who your assets will go to or provide funds for your favorite charity. The careful financial planning you’ve been doing will warrant devising a careful estate plan.
The best way to safeguard your future assets will be by contacting an estate planning lawyer. These professionals are the best people to help you gather financial information and help you to document your wishes for their distribution. An estate planner will understand the laws of your state and refer you to any companies you may need to carry out your wishes. For example, they can help you make funeral and burial arrangements if you haven’t yet done so.
If you are a business owner, you should include your business assets on a separate estate planning document. While it’s likely you will retire before your death, you’ll want to be sure you have a plan in place in case you should die beforehand. You’ll want to make your wishes for your business assets clear to your business team, your family, and your attorneys.
7. Dividing Your Shared Funds
If you’re married, you probably have included your spouse in your financial planning. Both of your names will be on any joint financial transactions. In the event of an impending divorce, you have many emotional challenges. However, don’t let your emotions stop you from revising your financial planning to encompass the changes divorce will make. Because divorce will involve so many personal and financial changes, you need to find someone who can objectively guide you through the process.
You’ll want to find the best divorce attorney possible. Their priority may be to assist you in navigating the legal details of your divorce proceedings. However, they can also remind you of changes to your full life financial planning, which must be made when you’re no longer married.
If your current healthcare insurance is a family plan, you’ll want to change it to either ‘single’ or ‘single with children.’ It will make a difference in your premium and require your spouse to get their insurance. Any assets you two own together (including your family home) may be included in the division of assets to be settled in court, but these will also need to be changed. If the two of you have a joint checking account, get your account as soon as possible.
8. Keeping a Business Running
If you own a business, you’d be wise to have a separate business financial plan with the same comprehensive strategy. Your company’s finances and records must be kept separate from your personal finances. If your company’s financial records are ever audited, or in the event of a future audit, your company’s records will need to be precisely documented. A local business law attorney is the best business professional to help you with these matters.
One of the roles of a commercial attorney is to educate you and your business partners about any laws that may relate to your business dealings. However, the attorney should also be acquainted with the documents related to the business version of your full life financial planning. They can advise you regarding any legal issues that may impact that plan.
Although you may feel the fees of retaining a corporate attorney are high, the expenses will prove justified if you prevail in a lawsuit. Those same expenses could also be justified due to saving you from unwise investments or financial transactions. Suppose your business is involved in a lawsuit (whether as the plaintiff or the defendant). In that case, the business attorney will keep you updated regarding current law and the circumstances related to the lawsuit.
9. Avoiding Bankruptcy
One of the advantages of having a sound financial plan is to manage your routine expenses and debts so that you will remain financially solvent. If your debts have become overwhelming (although you did your best to manage your debts proactively), you may feel you should file for bankruptcy. If you think you must make this decision, choose a reputable bankruptcy attorney.
Admitting your full life financial planning has gone off course may feel devastating. But pretending your situation doesn’t exist won’t help you to survive financially. In addition to contacting a lawyer, financial experts advise anyone in this situation to do two things: increase your income and decrease your spending.
Don’t let sentiment stand in your way when your finances become this strained. If you have valuables that aren’t necessary for your survival, consider selling them to pay off your debts. Cancel any scheduled expenditures that aren’t necessary (like gym memberships, premium TV channels, or other monthly subscriptions.) To save even more money, stop getting takeout or delivery food and cook your meals at home.
If all these strategies sound great to you, but it sounds beyond your ability, consider contacting a financial planner. Explain your desire to adopt a full life financial planning strategy, and they will help you plan to fit your life. The sooner you begin adopting a wise financial plan, the sooner you’ll be able to start feeling more in control of your financial help.