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Taking Stock of Your Stuff

By Scott Downing

We all accumulate a lot of stuff throughout our lives. Some of that stuff is important and has value, either practical, monetary or sentimental. But much of what we accumulate becomes junk, like the infamous Beanie Baby collections many families still have from the 1990s.

The toughest part of accumulating all of this stuff is that we can easily lose track of it as time marches onward. Here is a perfect example.

Just this week, I had a client whose plan I was reviewing. She initially started working with us in 2013, after stints with advisors at banks, other brokerage firms, and assistance from her children.

As is standard with all of our clients, the first step we took two years ago was to completely inventory of all of her stuff. Much like a doctor does during a physical, we asked a lot of questions, and gathered detailed information on her assets, liabilities, insurance, estate planning documents and tax returns. Once all of these pieces of the puzzle were apparent and accounted for, we put together a plan for her to achieve her primary goal: enhancing her retirement income without running out of money.

Early this year, we met to review her plan for 2015 and to make sure that all of her needs were still being met. In discussing her income needs, she mentioned that she received quarterly dividend checks in the mail from some stock that she had owned for 20 years or more. This information was new to me, so I started digging deeper to find more information.

We ultimately found stock certificates and paper bonds that she had in her possession. They were in a “junk” drawer in her home, and she didn’t really know what was in there until she started searching at my request. At the end of the day, we found assets she didn’t know she had, and her net worth increased drastically overnight.

Our team’s goal is to provide financial peace of mind, and one of the ways that we do this is by taking a full inventory of your financial life. If you don’t know where everything in your financial life is currently, or would just like to review your goals to see if you are on track, give us a call to set up a complimentary meeting.

As this video explains, those who know what they have fare better than those who don’t.

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