Take control of your financial Future Building your strategy When it comes to planning your financial future, there’s no “one size fits all.” The strategies that make the most sense for you are influenced by your personal goals and needs. This Take Control Checklist outlines 10 principles you’ll want to consider when developing your long-term financial strategy. *Build a team of financial professionals Developing an effective, long-term financial strategy takes a team of financial professionals, including a MassMutual financial professional, lawyer and certified public accountant. Each can provide expertise and insight, and help you develop a strategy tailored to your specific financial goals. *Understand which tax strategies could work for you Through careful planning and investing, you could apply various tax-advantaged strategies while potentially reducing your state and federal income tax. Controlling your tax liabilities can allow you to meet your goals sooner. *Protect yourself and your dependents Consider purchasing individual life insurance policies for yourself and your partner to help replace the lost income used to pay your mortgage and day-to-day expenses in the event of death. Also consider disability income insurance to help replace a portion of your income if you become disabled and are unable to work, so you and your family can maintain your standard of living while you recover. * Create a simple, diversified investment strategy Through prudent investing, you can create wealth that can provide additional income when you need it most. You can realize value with a simple, diversified approach. Your financial professional can help you create a strategy that meets your needs. *Maximize your retirement savings An employer-sponsored retirement plan is a start, but experts agree that how much you save, and when you start, will determine the type of retirement you can enjoy. Consider tax-favored retirement accounts. Your financial professional can help you choose what’s right for you. *Establish an estate plan Creating an estate plan can ensure that your assets will be transferred to your beneficiaries as efficiently as possible while minimizing tax consequences. Remember, controlling your financial future also means deciding where your assets will go when the time comes. * Build a cash cushion for the future You may want to earmark a certain amount of your monthly budget as savings for unexpected expenses or loss of income. Consider having an emergency fund equal to six to eight months’ pay. *Be smart about education needs Funding a child’s or grandchild’s education can be an expensive proposition. There are investment vehicles specifically designed for this purpose that can provide attractive savings options with no income restrictions on contributors. *Make employee benefits work for you By taking advantage of the valuable protection offered by many employers, you can have a head start on taking control of your financial future. Employer-sponsored life, disability, health and retirement benefit plans are cost-effective ways to ensure your financial security is on the right track. *Avoid the debt trap Excessive debt, especially credit card debt, can keep you from taking control of your financial future. Consider paying more than the minimum payments, starting with the highest interest rate debt first, to chip away at debt.