We’re all busy. There is always some new item on our constantly growing to-do lists. Some tasks are fun to take on and others are tedious, boring, long or all the above. But some of the most important to-do’s in our lives often get overlooked because—well, let’s face it–they’re not all that fun.
Here are the top three, in descending order. See if you are dragging your feet in any of these areas. If so, quit putting off making the necessary fixes. You will be glad you acted.
#3 Mortgage Refinancing
The third most frequent reason for procrastination is not to refinance a mortgage at current lower rates. With interest rates bouncing on the floor of historic lows these past several years, there is really no reason whatsoever to have an excessively high mortgage rate. Yes, it’s a hassle to apply for a new loan, with forms to fill out and disclosures to file. So what?
Bottom line: If your mortgage rate is too high, you’re paying too much money and you’re using that money as kindling to light your fire-pit in the back yard.
#2 Estate planning
The No. 2 most frequent cause for procrastination is not updating your estate planning documents. You must do this periodically and without fail. Circumstances change: People get divorced or die or otherwise fall out of your life. Your estate needs to reflect those changes. If you don’t have your basic estate planning documents updated and in order, life (and death) can get miserable for you and your family.
The basic documents almost everyone needs are:
- A will,
- A healthcare directive, and
- Power of attorney (POA) documents
The will tells your family where your money should go and who should handle it. The healthcare directive tells your family and medical professionals how you want your medical matters handled in case you cannot communicate. The power of attorney ensures your financial affairs are handled efficiently if you become incapacitated and are unable to make decisions on your own.
If you’re one of the roughly 50% of people who actually have these documents updated and in order, just make sure your power of attorney documents are specific about what financial matters they govern. In this day and age of strict legal oversight, some financial institutions will not honor a general POA without this specific language.
#1 Learn to Manage Your Money
Finally, the No. 1 most frequent procrastination motive we see is neglecting to manage your hard-earned money. Frequently, clients hold dormant 401(k)s, deferred compensation plans, individual retirement accounts, Roth IRAs, annuities, individual or joint accounts, trust accounts and other brokerage accounts—all scattered around at different institutions.
Money, investments and retirement planning are more important than your mortgage rate and estate planning combined. Why? There are two types of loss:
- Loss of opportunity, and
- Loss of money
You need to ensure your financial house is in order before you can have a properly constructed estate plan. You need to save, grow and protect your money to maximize the savings realized from a lower-cost home or a cheaper mortgage rate.
It’s a simple task to consolidate all your investment accounts into one place where you can diligently watch and manage them on an ongoing basis. At Popular Securities we have the tools to help you with this process so it’s easy and accessible. Learn how to read your statements, view your accounts online or check your financial information on your phone (whichever is easiest). Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Get in touch with your financial consultant today and allow us to help you take care of your financial affairs.
The content of this material is provided for informational and educational purposes only and may not be applicable to all situations. Its contents should not be considered as an advice of any kind or as a suggestion to effect (or inhibit) any particular action. The information and general descriptions included are designed to help you understand some of the factors that you should generally consider when evaluating the relevance of any financial strategy. It does not include or take into account all the factors that may be relevant to your individual financial needs. By providing this information, we presume that you are able to evaluate this information an exercise your independent judgment. Brokerage products and services are provided by Popular Securities, LLC, a registered broker/dealer, member FINRA SIPC. Popular Securities, LLC is a subsidiary of Popular, Inc. and an affiliate of Banco Popular de Puerto Rico. Popular Inc. and Banco Popular de Puerto Rico are not registered broker/dealers. Investment products are not insured by the FDIC; are not deposits or obligations of the bank; are not guaranteed by the bank or its subsidiaries and/or affiliates; and are subject to investment risks, and they may lose value.