I want to take this opportunity to thank you for reaching out to me. One of the first steps towards financial clarity and meeting your financial goals is to reach out to specialists who can identify your needs and financial position. I am pleased to help you get started on your journey and look forward to seeing you meet your goals! Throughout this document, I will be using various numbers and concepts under the assumption that they represent your financial position. In truth, these numbers are meant to be fluid and may change with time depending on the course of events in your life. Reviewing the document carefully to understand the underlying concepts and financial patterns is necessary given that change is constant.
The best place to start is by reviewing the attached cash flow summary. This is a tool which can help you both visualize and quantify your goals. Items that are included on the cash flow include investments you are making, debt payments, and unallocated cash flows as an example. Additionally, I have tracked the costs or savings associated with each of my recommendations in the cash flow summary as well. The summary should allow you to see an action plan for achieving your goals while keeping yourself within your budget.
Issue 1: Emergency Funds
While you have a good start on accumulating sufficient emergency reserves, your current amount would last 3.4 months without covering any additional out of pocket expenses for medical insurance in case of a job loss or medical expenses in case of an illness. Recommendation: Increase emergency reserves this year to at least 4 months of reserves which requires an additional $5,000 deposited this year. Move funds from the taxable money market to the Colorado municipal money market which has a better after tax return. Additionally, any tax refunds (estimated to be about $500 after changing withholdings) or “found money” should be dedicated to this goal, increasing it up to $33,000 over the next few years.
Increases your ability to handle any emergencies that come along. Using the municipal money market is more efficient with a better after tax return than your current money market. As long as one of you is working, this would cover six months of unemployment.
Funds invested in safe liquid assets earn less than those that have higher risk. Alternative: Use Roth IRA to begin accumulating more emergency reserves beyond the current $25,000 because you can withdraw your principle anytime without penalty and the funds are protected from creditors. In that case, we would not count earnings toward your emergency reserves but principle only. Issue 2: Paying off credit card debt as soon as possible. Paying off credit card debt starting now will free up money to accomplish other goals. Currently you are in a position where you can pay off debt immediately if you utilize current cash flows. This will save on interest payments and allow you to allocate cash flow to other goals. Recommendation: Pay off your $6,158 of credit card debt immediately using the re-allocable savings, tax withholding, and estate distribution. These additional cash flows of $20,300 should be more than enough to cover the credit card debt.
You will stop interest from accumulating on your credit cards, which frees up cash flow for other purposes in the future. Your $6,000 of per year expenses previously allocated to credit card debt is now freed up for other financial goals. With your credit card debt off of your credit report, your credit score will improve. With the increase in credit score, you may qualify for better debt financing rates in the future. An example of this would be if you refinance your home. Current lending rates (fixed) are lower than your current mortgage rate of 6.88%.
This is a significant upfront cost as far as cash flow is concerned. The additional resources could be used towards other goals in the short term. Depending on the actions you take, you may not have a need for more affordable lending rates.
Issue 4: Homeowner’s Coverage
Your current homeowner’s coverage is adequate from a baseline perspective, but I believe some minor improvements can be made to your coverage. With the cash flow we currently have available, minor tweaks can be made to your policy to ensure that you are covered under the most strenuous of circumstances and can have peace of mind regarding your home. Recommendation A: My first is that you increase your base coverage by $10,000; this will cover you for the full value of your home as you currently are covered for only 96% of its value.
The advantage of increasing your homeowner’s coverage on your dwelling from $310,000 to $320,000 is that you will receive the full replacement cost of your home in the event of a catastrophe. Increasing your homeowner’s coverage is also quite cheap; the additional cost is only $35 per year.
The additional homeowner’s coverage is cheap, but modest in its advantages. The $35 you are spending on these could easily go elsewhere.
Recommendation B: My second recommendation is you take an inventory of your personal property.
A personal property inventory will ensure you know the value of your possessions in the event of a catastrophe. Appraisals of high-value items such as your jewelry, wedding ring, antiques, and guns will be beneficial not only for your personal property inventory but also for your personal benefit; you can have an appraisal on hand in case you want to sell something, for instance.
The personal property inventory will require regular appraisals if you are to keep up with maintaining it on a consistent basis. Appraisals for personal property are oftentimes costly. This is actually only a problem if you get a large number of items appraised.
Recommendation C: My third recommendation is you add an inflation rider to your policy.
The benefit of the inflation rider is that it increases your base policy by the amount needed to keep it on par with yearly inflation. It will automatically increase both coverage and the premium. It is also cheap at only $20 per year.
Similar to the increase in homeowners coverage, modest in its advantages. The $20 could go elsewhere.
Issue 5: Automobile Coverage
You have not had a review of your automobile coverage for four years. Looking at changes to your automobile policy can help us see areas where you are more at risk from financial loss. We currently see that improvement can be made to your base policy as well as how your deductible is structured. These issues and recommendations are ultimately to be addressed with your insurance agent; I am merely providing a perspective. Recommendation A: I recommend that you raise your current base policy to double its current amount. Along with this, you will also raise your uninsured motorist’s coverage to match the amounts of the base policy.
The primary benefit of raising the base policy to double its current amount is you concurrently raise your uninsured motorist’s coverage to match. Your current uninsured motorist’s coverage is lower than your base policy; raising the uninsured motorist’s coverage provides substantially more financial protection in the event of bodily injury or the potential loss of one of you as a breadwinner.
The cost of doubling your base policy is quite substantial compared to the alternatives. The total cost is of doubling the base policy is $120.
Recommendation B: I recommend that you raise your comprehensive and uninsured motorist’s coverage deductibles from $500 to $1,000 each.
Raising your deductible’s from $500 to $1,000 each will provide you with $250 of cash flow yearly which can be used towards your other financial goals. These changes to your coverage are designed to maximize cash flow coming in while adapting to the financial needs that arise from certain risks. In sum total our recommendations result in positive cash flow for you while maximizing the benefit you gain from insurance claims.
In the event you do have to file an insurance claim, your insurance deductible for both comprehensive and uninsured motorists is going up to $1,000 from the previous $500.
You could leave your base policy alone but double your uninsured motorist’s coverage by paying only $40 instead of $120. This will free up cash flow of $80 compared to my recommendation for meeting your other financial goals. Your total bodily injury and property damage will remain the same. The uninsured motorist’s coverage will double. This still gives you greater financial protection in the case of a loss of income compared to leaving uninsured motorist’s coverage alone. Issue 6: Umbrella Coverage
You are not adequately protected from liability with your umbrella coverage. As an example, you have risks related to the ownership of your jet skis, snowmobiles, and horses. In the event you are sued for damage to either property or persons, you could be liable for anywhere between 5-15 times your annual income or even the sum total of your net worth. At your current level of coverage of $500,000, your financial security is at a high risk for being jeopardized in the event of a legal meltdown as well. Your current coverage premiums are above the average rates. None of the property previously mentioned is listed on your homeowner’s insurance policy either. Recommendations: Switch your umbrella policy from your current carrier to the same carrier as your homeowner’s policy. Under your new policy increase your total coverage from $500,000 to $1,500,000. Advantages:
Combining these policies under one company will confer you a monetary benefit of $25 per year in savings. We have calculated your recommended coverage quote by multiplying your yearly gross wages of $150,000 by a multiple of 10. This multiple is considered because you are established with a home, cars, retirement, and educational needs. A young couple with few assets would use a multiple of 5 whereas a larger family with more assets might use a multiple of 15. Your situation calls for something in the middle. Your deductibles for the umbrella policy will integrate with the existing policy limits.
The cost of the $1,500,000 is $200. This is $75 more than what you are paying with your previous policy. In the event you get rid of some higher risk items, such as your snowmobiles and jet skis, your coverage might need reevaluating as it would be too high relative to risk factors. You mentioned your personal items are low in value so retiring them soon would be an example of needing to discuss with your agent options regarding risk.
Instead of raising your policy level to $1,500,000, raise it to $1,000,000 only. The primary benefit of this is the cost savings from a cash flow standpoint. You are already adding your snowmobile and fishing boat to your homeowner’s policy for $300 annually. While the additional cost savings is modest, it simply affords a little bit more cash to be used for your other financial goals.
Issue: Disability Coverage
You lack an adequate budgetary plan in the event either one of you becomes disabled. At your ages, you have roughly a 21% chance that either one of you will unemployed for longer than three months as a result of disability. The impact of a disability with either one of you would be disastrous to your financial goals. The most important goals that would be compromised include your retirement and saving for your son’s education. Buying a car for your son, jet skis, and traveling, these luxuries would have to be reconsidered and more likely would be impossible. As a result of your disability you would further have additional health insurance premiums to pay; other out of pocket costs related to your disability not currently included in your budget would be necessary to account for. Both of your long term disability plans factor in inflation.
If Jim becomes disabled in the long term, a sharp drop in income occurs almost immediately and until retirement. If Anne becomes disabled, your income remains relatively the same until retirement. A question you should further consider is what happens at retirement? Your target income in retirement is $211,436. If Jim becomes disabled, your projected income in retirement is $83,285; this is 39% of your projected income. If Anne becomes disabled, your total income in retirement will be around $97,000; this is 46% of your projected goal. Understanding the realities of a potential disability for either one of you and putting a plan in place is primary.
1) Purchase a $1,743 monthly benefit individual policy to age 67 with an inflation rider of 3% on Jim. Purchase a rider premium with this policy. The total premium cost will be $829. 2) Purchase an additional 10-year benefit with a 365-day elimination to supplement Nancy’s income. The total premium cost will be $433. 3) Add a rider premium to your mortgage.