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Is it Time for a Financial Checkup?

As a regular contributor to the Lending Club blog, I read a lot of other financial columns and websites looking for stories to cover. As a result, many topics, outside of Lending Club’s core competence of providing P2P loans, are covered. Over at Investor Guide, I recently came across a list of questions to ask yourself to see if the time has come for a financial checkup.

The idea is that just like our bodies (or our cars) need routine maintenance, so too may our finances. Depending on your answers, you may want to consider talking to a qualified professional such as a financial planner. Here are the questions:

    • Do you have financial goals? If so, are they in writing and do they include deadlines?
    • Is your debt under control? Do you pay off your credit cards each month?
    • Have you reviewed your investment portfolio recently? Are you comfortable with the level of risk associated with your current investments?
    • Are you satisfied with the rate of return that your investments are generating?
    • Have you started a retirement fund yet? If so, will your current rate of savings provide an adequate fund to meet your future retirement needs?
    • Have you reviewed your tax situation recently to see if there are ways to reduce your tax liability?
    • Have you started a savings program to meet the cost requirements of your children’s college education? If so, will your current savings rate be adequate given the effects of inflation and rising tuition costs?
    • Have you reviewed your life insurance coverage recently? In the event of an untimely death, will your current policies provide adequately for your spouse and/or children?

How did those questions make you feel? If you felt a little uncomfortable thinking about one or more of them, then you may want to discuss your finances with someone.

The Internet also provides a lot of useful financial information. If you do turn to the Internet for advice and strategies, consider reviewing those ideas with a professional before taking action. With the diversity of readers out there, it’s unlikely that any one piece of advice on the Internet will fit your situation perfectly. Even though you might self-diagnose yourself based on medical information you found on the Internet, you would clearly be better off by consulting with your doctor. The same is often true with your finances.

Depending on which of these questions caused the most concerns, you may want to meet with a tax advisor, insurance agent, investment broker, and/or financial planner.

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