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 professionalsDeveloping an effective, long-term financial strategy takes a team of financial professionals, including a 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 youThrough careful planning and investing, you could apply various tax-advantaged strategies while, in the event of either of your deaths, the proceeds from a life insurance policy can be used toward any number of expenses, such as to help pay your mortgage and help with potentially reducing your state and federal income tax. Controlling your tax liabilities help you as you work toward your financial goals.*Protect yourself and your dependentsConsider purchasing individual life insurance policies for yourself and your partner to help replace the lost income day-to-day expenses. 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 continue to meet its financial needs while you recover.* Invest for your futurePart of planning for your future involves making educated decisions about managing your wealth and savings. Our Financial Processionals have the knowledge to guide you through the increasingly complex roadmap of investments that are available to you in today's growing financial market.*Maximize your retirement savingsAn 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 planCreating 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 futureYou 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 needsFunding a child’s or grandchild’s education can be an expensive proposition. There are investment vehicles specifically designed for this purpose.*Make employee benefits work for youBy 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 help protect your financial future. *Avoid the debt trapExcessive 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.