We’re now just two weeks in to the New Year. By now, most resolutions have crashed and burned into a fiery mess of disappointment and inaction. However, there’s still time to turn things around. One resolution, in particular, that needs your attention: finances. Here’s what you can’t afford to put off in the weeks ahead:
If you’re in the 18 to 35 demographic, and you’ve yet to sign up for a whole life insurance policy, what are you waiting for? It gets more difficult to qualify for coverage as you get older and health issues arise. Buy in now, and you can get significant coverage at affordable rates. It doesn’t matter if you’re single and without children. If you plan on having a family one day, now’s the time to set the wheels in motion, and earn cash value in the process.
Controlling Healthcare Costs
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been a troubled experiment in government-run healthcare, and the current numbers aren’t very encouraging. According to Businessweek, the dominant buyers thus far have been older individuals and women — two groups historically expensive to insure. Furthermore, more than 79 percent of sign-ups are eligible for subsidies, leaving 21 percent (mostly middle class families) to make up the difference.
If you can get ACA subsidized, then it can help defray out-of-pocket expenses, but if costs continue going up, don’t count on the subsidies to be around forever.
In 2014, you can fret over this trajectory, or you can take proactive steps for controlling healthcare costs. For many, that means purchasing catastrophic health insurance plans or jacking up deductibles to afford premiums, then negotiating with hospitals to pay normal check-ups out-of-pocket. While you’re at it, don’t forget to eat healthier and exercise four to five days per week. Healthy living is one of the best things you can do to keep down costs.
Setting Up An Estate Plan
If you want to ensure your loved ones are taken care of when you’re gone, then make sure you’ve got an estate plan. First, create a will that details your financial wishes. Then, decide whether a living trust is right for you. Trusts can protect your assets while still making them available to you while living. Next, make sure that you have an advanced medical directive in place to detail your wishes should you become incapacitated as the result of an accident. Finally, choose an executor and a medical power of attorney that you can trust to fulfill your last will and testament. For more on setting up an estate plan, here’s the first in a 15-part series that’ll help you get started:
Have an estate plan, retirement account, and/or life insurance plan in place? Don’t forget to revisit your beneficiaries on a regular basis. Life circumstances change. You get married, divorced, have children — wherever you’re at and whatever you’re going through, make sure your financial plans are always reflective of your true wishes.
New Year’s Resolutions can be hard to keep 365 days out of the year. But it doesn’t require 365 days to do all you need to do for financial peace of mind. Get your affairs in order today because you never know what tomorrow might bring.
[Featured Image via Flickr Creative Commons]