We don’t talk enough about money in the U.S.
But as self-employed professionals, few things are more important than mastering our personal and business finances.
Because when we’re stressed about money, it puts undue pressure on our businesses — which leads to poor decisions, bad clients, projects we hate and burnout.
In today’s episode, my guest Tony Steuer and I talk about one way to tackle the problem: incorporating a simple, 12-month financial action plan.
Tony is an award-winning author and the host of the Get Ready podcast. He regularly consults with InsureTechs, financial planners, insurance agencies, attorneys, insurance companies, and other financial service firms on the topics of insurance marketing and product best practices.
I think you’re going to enjoy this simple, no-nonsense approach to getting your financial house in order. It doesn’t involve a lot of pain, and it’s spread out over a 12-month period.
In fact, I’ve already started implementing this plan in my personal finances, and I’m loving the visibility and control it’s giving me.
The notes that follow are a very basic, unedited summary of the show. There’s a lot more detail in the audio version. You can listen to the show using the audio player below. Or you can subscribe in iTunes to get this show delivered straight to the Podcasts app on your smartphone, tablet or iPod.
Disclaimer: As always, the content of this podcast and show notes doesn’t constitute financial, legal or tax advice. Always check with your own financial, tax and/or legal advisor.
Tell us about yourself and your business
Tony Steuer is an author and financial preparedness advocate. He started as an insurance agent and has always had an interest in ethics. Today, he’s an award-winning author and the host of the Get Ready podcast.
You suggest that people should take action on one financial item each month as a way to build a healthier financial life. How did you come up with this idea?
When Tony talked to people about financial planning, he realized most people wanted (and needed) something that’s ongoing. They didn’t just want a snapshot.
They needed an action plan that would help them proactively change their financial habits.
Walk us through what we should be doing each month — and explain why each piece is important
January: Check your financial dashboard. See where you’re at with 1) cash flow — your income and expenses and 2) Net worth — the value of your assets and liabilities.
February: Get organized for filing taxes. Go through your receipts and financial documents. Starting early with this task will make tax filing much easier.
March: Review your investments and allocations. Make sure you’re still on track to reach your goals, such as retirement savings. Do you need to reallocate your investments? Do you need to make an additional contribution to your retirement savings?
April: File federal and state income tax returns. Make sure you’re maximizing deductions. Check how much you’re withholding to make sure you’re on track for next year.
May: Order credit reports from credit reporting agencies. Look for errors and potential fraud.
June: Review retirement plan contributions and projections to see if you are on target. Look at your anticipated retirement age and your investments. Look at your college savings and debt portfolio.
July: Hold a family financial meeting. Review old goals and set new ones. Every household is like a small business, and everyone needs to be on the same page. Let family members know where your financial documents are located.
Every household is like a small business. Everyone, including your kids, needs to be on the same page.
August: Review your estate plan and estate planning documents to make sure they’re current, including wills, trusts, and advance directives. Check beneficiaries.
September: Review insurance policies in preparation for November. Make sure your health coverage still meets your needs. Look at your house insurance and car insurance.
October: Review your financial first aid kit. Review your system of documents and make sure you have a backup plan. Can you scan and save essential documents securely in the cloud? Can you put them in a fireproof box? Do you have a list of prescriptions in case of an emergency and you’re displaced?
November: Enrollment for group employee benefits and individual health insurance opens. Do you need to change or update your health benefits plan?
December: Wrap up any loose ends from your financial year. Keep an eye on your holiday budget. Make last-minute charitable deductions. Look for unclaimed money. Tony has a downloadable PDF with a list of resources to find unclaimed money.
Is it too late to get started on this for this year?
Today is always the best day to start. You can dive in anytime.
It’s never too late to get started with financial planning.
Tony provides prompts in his monthly newsletter to remind people what they should be doing every month.
Tell us about your book, Get Ready! A Step-by-Step Planner for Maintaining Your Financial First Aid Kit
The book is designed for everyone, no matter where you are in your financial life. It takes you step by step through this process.
You can download worksheets from Tony’s website.
Where can listeners learn more about you?
By the way… whenever you’re ready, here are 4 ways I can help you grow your freelance business:
1. Grab a copy of my book for ESTABLISHED writers.
You’ll discover a different way to think about your challenges during this crisis. Plus you’ll get clear recommendations to get you through the storm safely … and to come out the other side stronger than ever. — Click Here
2. Download a free copy of my book for writers who are NEW TO FREELANCING.
I’ll show you the 3 things you need to do to get your business off the ground safely and land your first paying client faster. — Click Here
3. Join my implementation program and be a case study.
I’m putting together a new implementation group this month. If you’d like to work with me to grow your income quickly with better clients (and become one of my new success stories) … just hit reply and put “Case Study” in the subject line.
4. Work with me privately.
If you’re a 6-figure writer who’s trying to earn more in less time, with less stress, I might be able to help you get there faster than you think. Just hit reply, put “Breakthrough” in the subject line, and I’ll back to you with more details.