Should you live for today or save for the future? That’s the question many face as they develop their financial plans. The conservative and prudent advice is to live on a modest budget today so you have plenty of assets in reserve for future needs, especially after you retire. Commonly accepted wisdom seems to be that you should pinch pennies today in order to enjoy yourself down the road.
However, there’s also the very understandable desire to live for today. There are likely things you want to do in life that would be best enjoyed while you’re young, not in retirement. Also, given the unpredictability of life, there’s no guarantee that you will be able to tick items off your bucket list when you’re older.
Do you have a health savings account, also known as an HSA? You’re not alone. According to a study from America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), nearly 20 million Americans are enrolled in an HSA.1
An HSA can be a valuable tool to help you pay for deductibles, copays and other out-of-pocket health care costs. They can be especially helpful for those emergency costs that you don’t factor into your regular budget.
If you’re like many Americans, you probably use your HSA to pay for short-term, unexpected costs. Your child suffers a sports injury, so you take money out of the HSA to cover the copay. Or you need to buy medicine for an illness, so you use HSA funds to pay for the prescription. There’s nothing wrong with using an HSA as a short-term reserve account for health care costs. In many ways, that’s why HSAs exist.
You probably have unique goals for your legacy and estate. Perhaps you want to help your kids or grandchildren fund their own goals, such as retirement or college. Maybe you want to leave assets to a favorite charity or cause. Or maybe you simply want to provide a safety net and financial security for those who are most important to you.
Most people start their estate planning with the creation of a will. It’s the most basic and fundamental estate planning tool. Your will can provide instructions to your executor and the local court about who should receive your assets after you pass away.
A will can’t do everything, though. Even with a will in place, your estate will still go through probate, which is the legal process for settling one’s estate. During probate, your executor and the local probate court pay all outstanding debts, file a final tax return on your behalf, liquidate assets, notify heirs and much more.
Every business owner has to make an exit at some point. Some owners leave on their own terms, either through retirement or with the sale of the company. Others, though, exit before they’re ready via disability, health issues or even death. While it may not be pleasant to think about the latter category of exits, it’s important to consider what may happen to your business and your family if you pass away.
Estate planning can sometimes be a complicated process, but it can be even more complex if you are a business owner. You have to consider how to compensate your family for your years of investment and hard work. You also may have business partners to think about. And you probably want to create a smooth transition for your employees, customers and other interested parties.
Carstens Financial Group focuses on providing comprehensive asset management, estate planning and life insurance solutions. Allow us to help you secure your financial future.