How to build a financial plan that really blends into your life The latest volume in the bestselling Ultimate series, Jim Stovall and Tim Maurer's The Ultimate Financial Plan: Balancing Your Money and Life is a one-stop, comprehensive, personal financial planning book exploring the intersection of money and life. The Ultimate Financial Plan examines the connection between actions, thoughts, and feelings when it comes to all things financial. The key to getting the most out of your wealth, the authors argue, is certainly found in the wise utilization of tools, like budgets, bank accounts, 401(k)s, IRAs, Roth IRAs, education savings plans, and real estate, as well as home, auto, business, health, disability, and long term care insurance, but even more so in the contentment found in balancing money's influence in our lives with personal values and goals. * An insider's look into the recently humbled "Big 3" the banks, brokerage firms, and insurance companies and the inner workings that often set their proprietary goals and objectives above all * A critical examination of the role of various financial sales people, advisors, planners, and consultants * A guide to navigating Economic Bias a conflict of interest involving money and how it affects every financial decision we make The Ultimate Financial Plan is the application of the resources at your disposal for the purpose of living your life to the fullest, and this book will show you the quickest route to getting started on the path to ultimate success.
Foreword xi Preface xv Acknowledgments xix Introduction xxi Chapter 1 The Gift of Money: Money 101 1 The Value of Money 3 Money Beliefs 4 Chapter 2 The Gift of Purpose: Personal Principles and Goals 7 Personal Principles 7 Goals 10 Chapter 3 The Gift of Discipline: Household Cash Flow 17 Personal Financial Statements 17 Financial Crises 25 Chapter 4 The Gift of Enough: Debt and Financial Freedom 27 Financial Freedom 28 The Danger of Discontent 29 Emergency Reserves 32 Bad Debt 35 Better Debt 39 Economics and Emotions 41 The Cure for More 43 Chapter 5 The Gift of Discernment: Risk Management Decisions 45 The Accident 47 Risk Management Techniques 48 How Insurance Works 50 Chapter 6 The Gift of Security: Life Insurance 55 Life Insurance: Why? 55 Life Insurance Needs 59 Life Insurance: How? 62 Life Insurance Wants 67 Different Types of Life Insurance 70 Purchasing Life Insurance 73 Chapter 7 The Gift of Certainty: Auto, Home, and Liability Insurance 77 Auto Insurance 79 Homeowner s Insurance 82 Excess Liability (Umbrella) Insurance 84 Chapter 8 The Gift of Health: Health, Disability Income, and Long-Term Care Insurance 87 Health Insurance 89 Types of Plans 89 HSAs and FSAs 90 Recent Health Insurance Changes 93 Disability Income Insurance 95 DI Moving Pieces 96 Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare 99 Long-Term Care Insurance 100 LTC Moving Pieces 101 Chapter 9 The Gift of Clarity: Investing and Portfolio Management 107 Stocks and Bonds 109 All Things Considered Equal? 111 Mutual Funds 112 Economic Analysis 115 Market Valuation Analysis 117 Technical Market Analysis 118 Efficient or Not? 119 Passive versus Active 119 Investing with Style 121 Relative Return versus Absolute Return 123 Index Huggers, Return Chasers, and Risk Managers 126 Decisions, Decisions 128 Chapter 10 The Gift of Transparency: Annuities 131 Immediate Annuities 134 Fixed Annuities 136 Variable Annuities 137 Equity Indexed Annuities 140 Annuity Disadvantages 141 Annuity Advantages 143 Chapter 11 The Gift of Preparation: Tax Planning 147 Tax Myths 150 Tax Rules 155 Chapter 12 The Gift of Learning: Education Planning 159 Family Education Policy 162 Having The Talk (no, not that talk) 166 Education Savings Plan 169 The 50 Percent Rule 172 Chapter 13 The Gift of Fulfillment: Retirement Planning 175 Retirement Past 179 Retirement Present 180 Retirement Future 180 Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plans 181 401k Rollovers 182 Traditional IRAs 184 Roth IRAs 185 Traditional versus Roth 186 Roth IRA Conversions 187 Fulfillment Planning 189 Retirement Makeover 193 Chapter 14 The Ultimate Gift: Estate Planning 197 Wills 200 Durable Powers of Attorney 205 Advance Directives 206 Beneficiary Designations 208 Probate 212 Estate Tax 214 Chapter 15 The Gift of Discretion: Choosing a Financial Advisor 217 "The Big Three" 222 Financial Planner Compensation 224 Finding a Professional Planner 228 Chapter 16 The Gift of Action: Your Plan for Money and Life 233 Fundamental and Practical Change 234 Reprise 235 Stay Connected 238 Notes 241 About the Web Site 245 About the Authors 247 Index 249