I attended the national conference for the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) in Chicago this week. NAPFA is a professional organization for financial advisors who are committed to Fee-Only and comprehensive financial planning. Below are some of the new ideas and time-tested reminders that I took away from the conference.
- If you are the parent of a minor and you do not have a Will, a court will determine his or her guardian. Please prioritize putting a Will in place if you are in this boat.
- You may need to appoint a short-term guardian in your Will if the primary guardian for your minor child does not live nearby. This will prevent your child from ending up in the care of an agency until your primary guardian arrives.
- A presenter recommended the book Who Gets Grandma’s Yellow Pie Plate for help in determining how to divide assets in your estate plan.
- Use an attorney who specializes in estate planning to draft your estate planning documents. You wouldn’t let your general practitioner perform brain surgery on you, so don’t let your real estate attorney draft your estate planning documents.
- Visit www.martindale.com and www.actec.org to find attorneys in your area who specialize in estate planning.
- Use this checklist provided by the American Bar Association to think through decisions you will need to make in your medical directives.
Property Division in Divorce
- Each party must be careful when agreeing to take an asset that is difficult to value such as real estate. You may be better offer selling the asset and splitting the proceeds so that you will know its true worth.
- A presenter recommended Divorce & Money: How to Make the Best Financial Decisions During Divorce by Violet Woodhouse.
- Visit www.whatsthecost.com to calculate how long it will take you to pay off your debt.
- It’s difficult to separate the legitimate counselors from the snake oil salesmen in the credit and debt counseling business. A presenter recommended The National Foundation for Credit Counseling as a reliable source for credit counselors.
- If you have questions about options for your mortgage or housing in general, visit the Department of Housing and Urban Development website for information about free or low-cost counseling.
- Check out www.creditcard.com to compare credit card offers and for information on credit cards.
- A presenter recommended www.consumerworld.org as her preferred resource for consumer education.
- Visit www.statehealthfacts.org for state-specific health plan information and a summary of healthcare reform.
College Education Savings
- A speaker, Jean Chatzky, recommended paying for college education in thirds: 1/3 from savings, 1/3 from cash flow while your child is in college, and 1/3 from student loans taken by the student. She feels that this approach allows the student to have some skin in the game. Research has shown that students who pay for part of their tuition take college more seriously.
- In 2011, all colleges that participate in Title IV student financial aid programs will required to have net price calculators on their websites.
Please note that this blog post is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as advice specific to your situation. You should get advice from a legal, accounting, or investment professional before deciding what course of action is appropriate for you.