When you come home from the doctor with a major diagnosis, after you call your family members, consider calling your financial advisor. 

Why? Because changes in physical health can also affect your fiscal health. It’s better to plan for a worst-case scenario which never happens than to struggle with the financial ramifications of illness.   

Recently a client called me the night before he was to undergo surgery. He wanted to review his accounts and make sure, in the worst-case scenario, his family would be financially secure. While there was little other to do than to wish him well, I encourage clients to call me at the beginning of a health event.  

Gather Documents  

Your financial life is likely spread across various places, both physically and digitally. Make one master document that indicates where all accounts are held, instructions on accessing the accounts, and contact details for professionals and beneficiaries. You, your spouse, and perhaps an adult child should know where this document is, and regularly update it.  

Update Beneficiary Designations  

Many accounts pass to the next generation via a beneficiary designation. This is common for life insurance policies, as well as pension plans, IRAs, and annuities.  

If your accounts or policies have a beneficiary designation, they bypass the will and probate process. While this saves time, money, and hassle, it also means that your beneficiary information needs to be up to date. This is particularly important in second marriages and after divorce. 

Pad Your Emergency Fund  

Having an emergency fund is especially important if one spouse falls ill, as you can handle unexpected costs. Make sure you have enough cash to cover your bills — meaning money that’s immediately accessible in a savings or money market account (as opposed to investments or home equity).  

Call Your Financial Professionals  

While medical professionals should be the first call you make in dealing with a health crisis, touching base with your financial professional can provide peace of mind. Take the time to review your asset allocation to ensure adequate cash flow to cover immediate and possible long-term events. This is also a good time to review how your account(s) are structured in the event that one spouse can’t give financial directives.  

Profile has decades of experience in moderating discussions between spouses (and adult children) to make sure your USD assets are properly positioned to provide the freedom to enjoy a stress-free life… or concentrate on a full recovery during a health crisis. If you need assistance, reach out to us today 02-624-2788. 

Douglas Goldstein, CFP®, is the director of Profile Investment Services, Ltd. www.Profile-Financial.com. He is a licensed both in the U.S. and Israel. Call (02) 624-2788 for help with your U.S. investment accounts. Securities offered through Portfolio Resources Group, Inc. Member FINRA, SIPC, MSRB, FSI. The opinions expressed are those of the author and not those of Portfolio Resources Group, Inc. or its affiliates. Neither PRG nor its affiliates give tax or legal advice.

Published April 3, 2024.

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