3 Tips to Take Control of Your Financial Future

No matter your stage of life, there’s always time to gain control of your financial future. If you’re nearing retirement, taking the reins can give you confidence that your money, your family, and your lifestyle are well protected — today and down the road.

The process doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Leslie Carter-Prall, Head of Private Wealth Management at Regions, suggests starting simply with three tips.

Step 1: Understand and Organize Your Assets

Planning for your financial future begins with first assessing your current situation. So first, take inventory of all of your assets and liabilities (and your family’s, if applicable) — from bank accounts to brokerage accounts to life insurance policies. “Pulling together all of your assets in a holistic way is the first step to understanding your overall asset picture. You need a comprehensive understanding of your assets before making adjustments. An incomplete picture can lead to poor investment decisions,” Carter-Prall says.

Next, make sure you have the appropriate titling and beneficiary designations on wills, trusts, estate plans, powers of attorney, etc. “It is critical to ensure you designate where you want your assets to go over time. If you don’t follow through on titling recommendations, your assets may not go where you intended,” Carter-Prall says.

Step 2: Review Your Social Security and Pension Opportunities

Especially as you near retirement, determine the role pension benefits or Social Security might play in your overall financial planning. That way, you know what assets you need to accumulate and achieve the retirement goals you’ve set for yourself, Carter-Prall says.

If you’re eligible for a pension, contact your company’s human resources department to learn more about opportunities. You can visit the Social Security Administration’s website to help calculate what your future benefits might be depending on variables such as when you retire and the amount of income you earn.

“As you approach retirement, review these benefits at least annually, because Social Security benefits, for example, are just estimated numbers,” Carter-Prall says. “Understanding the gap between your retirement goals and Social Security and retirement benefits is critical to developing a plan to accumulate the assets needed to fill that gap.”

Step 3: Understand the Risks and Rewards of Investing

Investing can play a significant role in your financial future — as long as you know your risk appetite and feel confident in your decisions. “It's really important to understand risk and reward, how they work, and to make sure you’re really comfortable,” Carter-Prall says. “Even if all the modeling in the world says that you should take on more risk - at the end of the day if you’re not comfortably sleeping at night, it’s important to reconcile that overall.”

Work with a financial advisor to help you determine your risk tolerance, long-term goals, and time horizon. In addition, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission provides resources for assessing your risk tolerance. This information can help you make the best investment decisions based on your preferences and goals.

Once you’ve taken control of your financial future, Carter-Prall suggests reviewing your financial situation on a quarterly basis so you can make any necessary adjustments. “Regularly reviewing your financial plan will ensure your investments are closely aligned to your goals,” she says. “But the most important part is that first step.”

Hear more on preparing for your financial future in this Regions Wealth Insights video.


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This information is general in nature and is provided for educational purposes only. Regions makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability, or validity of any information presented. Information provided and statements made by employees of Regions should not be relied on or interpreted as accounting, financial planning, investment, legal, or tax advice. Regions encourages you to consult a professional for advice applicable to your specific situation.