Take a holistic approach to protecting your family

Take a holistic approach to protecting your family

Any time you set up a plan to work towards a goal — whether it’s making sure your family has financial security or saving for your retirement — things can turn out one of three ways. It can go exactly as planned (which isn’t likely). Everything can go horribly wrong (which is possible, but also unlikely.) Or, life will be life with a mix of good times and bad and surprises and detours along the way.

Yet, too many people think about planning as preparing for the extremes, and miss planning for the most likely outcomes that fall somewhere in the middle. When a goal is really important to you, you should look at your approach from multiple angles to give you the best chance of achieving it.

Three simple questions can help you make sure you’re on the right track.

Am I taking the necessary steps for things to go right?

No matter the planning goal, begin by having a realistic expectation of the time and resources it will take to get you there. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t celebrate taking a few basic steps to get started — like enrolling in your company’s 401(k) up to the match, or setting aside a bit each month towards a savings goal. At the same time, it can be easy to take initial steps, feel accomplished, but then not come back periodically to make sure that the steps you’re taking will be enough to reach your target.

What happens in a worst-case scenario?

It’s not fun to think about, but for life’s most important goals, you need to have a plan in place for if things go terribly wrong. For most individuals, that means making sure those they care about will be taken care of if they’re no longer there to do so.

Depending on the time horizon of the goals you're protecting, term or permanent life insurance can be an important companion to any savings or investing strategy.

It can be a surprisingly economical way to make sure that, if the worst happens, a spouse will be comfortable in retirement or the kids can still go to college. 

What roadblocks or detours could get in my way?

It’s not the worst-case scenario that side-tracks most strategies. It’s other, more common life events like an accident, injury or illness — especially if it keeps someone from working.

Earning an income is a foundation to achieving most any financial goal. Yet, income protection is often the blind spot of a strategy. Often, it’s because people overestimate the benefits they would receive from a short-term or long-term disability policy at work, or underestimate their own chances of becoming disabled.

Additionally, they fail to have sufficient emergency funds that are quickly and easily accessible without penalty. Instead, they fall back on lines of credit, where interest charges can make it more challenging to recover from the financial setback. Or, dip into accounts like 401(k)s, where withdrawals can trigger both taxes and penalties.

Find a financial professional with a holistic view

Not sure where to start? Online calculators and generalized guidance can be helpful tools for research, but they can’t replace the guidance from a financial professional who can help you balance multiple different goals, put a strategy in place, and provide helpful coaching and accountability along the way.  

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Products issued by The Ohio National Life Insurance Company and Ohio National Life Assurance Corporation. Registered products distributed by Ohio National Equities, Inc., Member FINRA. Product, product features and rider availability vary by state. Guarantees are based upon the claims-paying ability of the issuer. Issuers not licensed to conduct business in New York. Withdrawals and loans may reduce the death benefit, cash surrender value and any living benefit amount.