As I was driving the other day, I was listening to "On the twelve days of Christmas my true love gave to me". Hearing this old favorite made me think – who really is our true love and what is it that we really want?
Here's what I believe. I'm no Dr. Phil, but it makes sense that before we think about what anyone else can give to us, we have to figure out what we can give to ourselves.
From a financial perspective, which is my expertise, most people tell me they want “peace of mind.” So I took a little literary license and came up with a new song for the holidays. On the 12 days of Christmas I gave myself the best gifts ever.
Here are the 12 gifts that will give you Peace of Mind in 2011.
Gift 1 – Review your life insurance coverage. Is it working as projected? Is the pricing up to date? Is the coverage in line with your needs?
Gift 2 – Examine (or create) your retirement goals. Are the assumptions realistic? Is it a priority? Are you on track?
Gift 3 – Look at your emergency savings. Do you have enough and is it liquid? What do you need it to cover?
Gift 4 – Review your disability coverage. Do you have any? Do you know what your policy covers?
Gift 5– Go thru your estate plan and yes, you do need one. Are the guardians you named for your children still the right choice? Is the executor the right choice? Has your life circumstances changed and are those changes reflected in your will?
Gift 6 – Appraise your need for long-term care insurance. What is your family’s health and longevity history? Do you have family members that would be willing and able to take care of you in the manner that you choose?
Gift 7 - Assess your diet. Studies have found that discrimination based on weight in the work place is more prevalent for women than men, especially white women in professional occupations.
Gift 8: Study your portfolio's performance. Are you an emotional investor? Do you end up buying high and selling low? How long do you hold on to a mutual fund?
Gift 9: Take a break from TV. Reduce your TV watching by less than 8 hours a year and you can gain financial success. Snookie won’t be able to help you but by taking a few hours to get financially educated will. My book Does this Make My Assets Look Fat can really help you with that. Take 5 hours to get organized and develop a plan, and then take an hour 2 times a year to review your plan.
Gift 10: – Re-evaluate your umbrella policy. Do you have one? Is it sufficient? When was the last time you revisited it? Experts report that only 10% of people have the proper umbrella policy.
Gift 11: Make sure you are familiar with all your finances. Do you know what would happen to you financially if you were to get divorced? 25% of couples married for twenty years get divorced. Furthermore, the “grey divorce” (people over 65) is the fasted growing group of people to get divorced.
Gift 12: Go over your credit cards. Understand your interest rates, payment options. Make sure you are not paying more than you have to.
I know this might sound like a lot, but the rewards far exceed the time invested in your future. You want and deserve the peace of mind these 12 gifts will bring you