It’s important to protect your money to limit your stress and gain peace of mind.
Welcome to Day 30 of the 30-Day Financial Wellness Challenge.
Each day will comprise of financial exercises, some short and others a bit longer, to help you become financially fit. The goal is to tackle different aspects of personal finances one day at a time.
After the 30 days, you’ll have a stronger understanding of your financial health and an action plan to improve your financial wellbeing. Review Day 29: Borrowing Money
Congratulations you’ve made it to the final day of the challenge.
On Day 30, we’re discussing the strategy and tactics to protect your money. You’ve done a great deal of work. Now it’s time to protect yourself.
In today’s challenge, you’ll learn:
- Protect your identity,
- protecting your money from scams,
- insurance to support your peace of mind,
- and introduce estate planning to protect assets for your loved ones.
Protect your money
With the growing number of data breaches, it continues to be a challenging to keep your personal information safe. The first rule of thumb is to limit the amount of information you share publicly.
- Monitor your credit report on a regular basis. Use a free credit report monitoring service to help you. Many services also track your social security number on the dark web.
- Enroll in an identity theft protection service. Your personal information is more than your credit report. In the event you’re a victim of ID theft, you’ll have a service to help you regain control.
Be wary of scammers
A fast way to lose your money is to fall prey to scammers. Scams continue to operate and evolve because they are successful in scamming millions from people. Protect your money and never send or perform financial transactions for anyone you do not know personally.
There are numerous scams out there from email phishing scams to text messages to phone calls with people threatening arrest for not paying a bill. The biggest scams involve fraudsters pretending to be US government officials. The IRS and other government agencies have stated they will never call, text, or email messages asking for payment or identity verification.
Use insurance wisely
You don’t need a lot of insurance, you just need the right type and amount of insurance to protect yourself from unforeseen hardships and losses. Insurance is really about mitigating risks.
Protect your stuff
Review your homeowner’s or renters insurance to verify how much of your personal stuff is covered. Make a list of all your items and their value and store the list and photos using a cloud drive service.
Determine how much life insurance is needed to take care of your financial obligations in the event of your passing including your funeral and burial.
Protect your income
Consider disability insurance to replace lost income due to injury and sickness or when you’re unable to work. Disability insurance is often offered through employers and can be purchased personally as well.
Protect your Financial Legacy
With some preparation, you can save your loved ones from losing time and stress by outlining your goals for your money.
Have you identified who will manage your affairs? Who will see your last wishes are executed? Although it may be difficult to have this conversation, it’s important to communicate with your loved ones way in advance.
Consider the following legal documents:
Will or estate plan
It’s important you have your wishes written down and witnessed by a professional. A will can be used for people with simpler finances. It’s not just for wealthy people. For more complex finances, estate planning may need necessary with the assistance of CPAs, tax experts, financial advisors, and attorneys.
A trust can be used to distribute your assets after your death. It’s more often used to minimize taxes and avoid probate.
Powers of attorney
Have a plan to protect yourself in the event you’re ill, hospitalized, or unable to make decisions. Consider these types of power of attorney: financial power of attorney, health care power of attorney, and living will.
Joint tenancy with rights of survivorship
When you hold a title for an asset with someone else like a house or car then your stake of the asset transfers directly to the surviving owner.
There are things you cannot include in a will. It may also be better to assign a beneficiary to specific assets to skip the hassle of the transfer in probate.
- Payable of death banking accounts: Add PODs for all your bank accounts including savings, checking, certificates, money markets, or any other money accounts you have with a financial institution.
- Transfer on death investing accounts: Add a TOD beneficiary for your stocks, bonds, and brokerage accounts.
- Retirement plans like 401(k)s and IRAs: Complete a beneficiary designation form when you enroll and review/change beneficiaries for any life events (like marriage, divorce, children, etc.).
- Life insurance: Designate a beneficiary for your life insurance and remember to update if necessary for life changes.
- Annuities: Have your loved ones receive your annuities by designating who will receive any money left after your death.
Day 30 Assignment
Today’s challenge is multistep. Get ready to protect your money.
- Use the list below and indicate if you’ve completed the task.
- Refer to previous challenges as some of the items listed have been included prior.
|Completed||Protect Your Money||Comments|
|Using a credit report monitoring app|
|Have identity theft insurance (paid or complimentary)|
|Read Six Ways to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft|
|Review Homeowners or Renter’s Insurance plan|
|Have Life Insurance (Term, Whole, or Group)|
|Have Disability Insurance|
|Have Long Term Care Insurance|
|Speak with an advisor about Estate Planning|
|Have a last will and testament|
|Have a trust|
|Have a financial power of attorney|
|Have a health care power of attorney|
|Have a living will|
|Review joint accounts or titles (Rights of Survivorship)|
|Added Beneficiaries: all banking accounts|
|Added beneficiaries: insurance policies|
|Added beneficiaries: brokerage accounts|
|Added beneficiaries: retirement plans|
|Added beneficiaries: annuity plans|
Protect Your Money Tips
Use the list as a guide. Complete the different ways to protect your money. And add to the list as necessary.
Have multiple email addresses. Use a different email for financial accounts that are not associated with social media profiles or used to subscribe to newsletters or marketing emails.
Use alerts and notifications. Set the alerts and notifications for all your financial accounts. Many financial institutions offer a simple way to opt-in to get these alerts for withdrawals, deposits, or unusual activity.
Update your beneficiaries. Remember to keep your beneficiary information updated. Reviewing them once a year is sufficient. There are many life changes that occur such as marriage, divorce, new child, or other events that would require updating your beneficiary designation.
Want to limit who gets access to your information? You can do the following:
|Place a security freeze on each of your credit reports.||A security freeze can prevent fraudsters from opening new accounts using your information. A freeze is free and must be requested from each credit bureau. To remove the freeze, you must request directly with the bureaus.||Experian|
|Get on the Do Not Call Registry||Add your phone numbers on the registry to prevent telemarketing calls. After you register, other types of organizations may still call you, such as charities, political groups, debt collectors, and surveys.||DoNotCall.gov|
|Opt-out of prescreened marketing offers||Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the Consumer Credit Reporting Companies are permitted to include your name on lists used by creditors or insurers to make firm offers of credit or insurance that are not initiated by you||OptOutPrescreen.com|
- Credit Sesame is another free credit monitoring service that offers free identity theft protection services.
- Personal Capital is a free personal finance app with a 360-degree view of your money. With Personal Capital, you can see all your accounts in one place making it easy to view.
- FTC Identity Theft Hub – useful information to help protect yourself from identity theft and resources to help you resolve issues.
Congratulations you’ve completed the 30 Day Challenge!