Given the recessionary times we’ve been in and are hopefully moving out of soon, I’d like to suggest a bit of a twist on the classic Back to School shopping. I’ll call it Back to School Financial Checkup. Prior to setting out to buy new clothes once we realize how much our kids have sprouted this summer, sit down and run through this checklist:
- Do I/we have a current will in place? Does it reflect our current wishes and situation? Did anything change this summer?
- Do I/we have the right amount of life insurance? After so many job losses and busy times, have you taken the time to review what insurance is in place and who is/are the beneficiaries? Many people have group insurance through their employer and some forget that when they leave their job or are let go, so is the insurance.
- Do I/we have disability insurance? Your odds of becoming disabled short or long term are much greater than death. Ensure you understand your group or individual policy. This insurance is the MOST valuable over one’s working lifetime.
- Am I/we on track to building financial security after a tough year? Is there a clear plan in place for investments, savings and debt reduction?
- Do I/we have a grip on our spending as we go into a new school year with increases on fees, taxes, and for those of us in Ontario, the new Tax Harmonization starting July 1, 2010 etc?
- For those who take an allowance break in the summer, do you have a plan to start up allowance for the kids in September? I’m a big believer in using allowance as a tool to learn how to manage money!
Ok, once you feel confident and secure in your knowledge of the above key questions, create a timeline of getting the answers on any outstanding issues well before Labour Day. Once this is done, you will feel more in control to hit the mall for Back to School Shopping!