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Planning can ease life-changing events

Jeffrey Apps and Tracy Tutag

The last thing most of us want to think about in the middle of a major life event is finances. Whether it’s marriage, having a child, divorce or death – you are totally caught up in the overwhelming detail of the situation. Whether you manage your own finances or have a financial professional to assist you, certain major life events call for a re-examination of your financial plan. Here are some of those events.MarriageWhen you marry, especially if you and your husband already have your own careers, you have to make some decisions about your financial future. Many working spouses keep separate checking accounts for day-to-day expenses, then share the major costs like mortgage payments. But most married couples invest for the future together. Saving for children’s college educations, retirement, a second home, or other long-term goals requires planning and agreement on the best investment tactics. You and your spouse should determine how much you need to save, what your investment options are, and how best to reach your goals, with the help of a financial professional, if necessary.Having childrenWhen children enter your life – whether through birth, adoption or step-parenthood – many of your priorities will change. Having children means setting new priorities, for example, how much to save for your child’s education vs. how much to save for your own retirement.A financial professional can be particularly helpful at this time. They can help you by making sure you have adequate life insurance to support your children until they are able to support themselves, and suggest methods of addressing your children’s college education expenses. Work with your legal advisor to help you establish and fund an estate plan that minimizes taxes and makes sure your property is distributed in the way you desire – for example, if you wish to have your estate go to your children by a first marriage rather than to your spouse. DivorceDivorce is an emotionally chaotic time, but it shouldn’t leave you with financial regrets. With your financial professional, you will want to consider these and other issues:- Payment of bills for joint assets (car, mortgage payments, etc.).- Tax implications of dividing marital property.- Protecting yourself from any possible bankruptcy of your spouse.- Protecting your assets from your former partner’s liabilities, including business or tax liabilities.- College funding for your children, including setting up an educational trust.- Equitable division of retirement plans and reinvestment of proceeds to avoid tax liabilities.- Renaming beneficiaries of your and your former partner’s life insurance policies and revisiting your estate planDeath of a spouseOne of the most important functions of a financial plan is preparing for the event of one partner’s death. Insurance, estate planning and many other issues should be discussed and understood by both parties so that either is prepared to carry on alone. Still, the death of a spouse, no matter how prepared you may be, is overwhelming. Your financial professional can help you in many ways, including:- Making sure you receive all the life insurance benefits you are entitled to.- Assisting you on transferring ownership of investment accounts.- Re-examining your investment portfolio in light of your new situation.- Helping you determine how best to withdraw funds from your spouse’s retirement plans.- Funding a new estate planIf you are currently in the middle of one of these major life changes, you should think about your financial plan now. But don’t wait until change occurs – make sure you are prepared for your financial future.Jeffrey Apps and Tracy Tutag provide securities and investment advisory services through AXA Advisors, LLC (member NASD, SIPC), 1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 212-314-4600 and offer annuity and insurance products through an insurance brokerage affiliate, AXA Network, LLC and its subsidiaries. They can be reached at 926.0601 or tracy.tutag@axa-advisors.com


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