Obtain your credit report annually to make sure it is correct. Report any errors and follow-up with required documentation.
Be sure to have a Will, including plans for caring for your minor children. Who will they live with and who will manage the money they inherit? Talk with an attorney to understand the laws in your state regarding at what age a child may inherit money directly. You may need to set up Trusts to handle the money until they reach a certain age.
Think about your financial goals for both the short-term and long-term. How much will you need to set aside each month to achieve them?
Unexpected things happen - build an emergency fund of 3 – 6 months of living expenses. Replenish whenever you dip into it.
If you haven’t started yet, begin investing, on a regular basis. Learn about the types of investments that are available in our Investor Education section.
Open an IRA or Roth IRA and contribute up to the maximum amount each year. You cannot take this money out without incurring significant penalties and income taxes, with some limited exceptions. This should be funds you will not need to touch for decades.
Start funding your children’s future college education needs when they are young. That way, the amount being set aside each month does not need to be as large as if you wait until their teenage years. You cannot count on them getting that all expenses paid full athletic or academic scholarship! There are a number of college savings vehicles. A brief description is in our Investor Education section.
Divorce and Remarriage can have significant impact on your financial goals. There may be tax implications to your divorce settlement as well that need to be considered. Consider a pre-nuptial agreement to protect the financial interests of both parties before tying the knot again. Also, review your insurance policies, retirement plans and investments to ensure the beneficiaries named are current. You may not want your ex-spouse receiving your 401(K) plan distribution upon your death!