Do you have a financial GPS for life’s journey?

A curvy road passes over hills

Sync your plans with your needs and wants as you travel down the road of life

Sandy Cairns, Senior Vice President - Senior Wealth Strategist, Wells Fargo Private Bank
Sandy Cairns,
Senior Vice President - Senior Wealth Strategist,
Wealth & Investment Management

Just like you use route guidance to get you where you’re going, having a solid plan can help you anticipate and prepare for whatever life sends your way. There are no guarantees that all roads will be easy, but if you plan and then a detour comes out of nowhere, your plan may help you navigate it.

Here are some good conversation starters for you and your trusted advisors.

Starting out

As a starting point, ask yourself this question: Would you be happy with what the law dictates about how things would go if you didn’t have a formal plan? If not, consider memorializing your wishes in your estate planning strategy. An estate planning attorney can help you with documents such as a will or trust as well as powers of attorney to help you formalize your plans.

For example, if you are single or part of an unmarried same-sex couple, it’s essential to have a health care power of attorney that names who you want to be able to make medical decisions on your behalf. Otherwise, if you were unconscious and unable to give consent, your chosen person could potentially be barred from visiting you or making sure your wishes are followed.

Also, do your account titling and beneficiary designations coordinate with your goals for transfer of your assets and insurance? Again, your attorney or financial advisor can help you create a plan that describes your intended results.

Embarking on a serious relationship

One large milestone may be finding your soulmate and becoming a couple. Collaboration with your new partner begins on day one, when you’re deciding where to eat or what movie to see on your first date. When things get more serious, your decisions carry bigger consequences. It’s not just a bad meal or a bad movie at risk.

There is so much to talk about and agree upon when you’re just starting out. Being on the same page with your partner about finances can provide a solid foundation. Do you and your “one” have the same financial priorities? Is one of you a saver and the other a spender? Can you agree on a budget? Are you going to combine everything and share it? Or will you keep the fruits of your labor separate and each contribute to your living expenses? And how will you make these contributions — equally or in proportion to your ability?

If you decide to marry, is a prenup in order? What about a will or trust or powers of attorney? Your estate planning attorney can help you flesh out these documents, advising you on the key decisions you need to make.

Growing your family

At some point, you may decide to have children. Or you may already have children. Or you may decide to forgo children altogether and opt for pets instead. Whatever your family makeup, don’t forget to provide for their care in case you’re not there. You can do this in your estate planning documents. Although a difficult decision to make, naming a guardian for your charges — be they pets or children — is crucial. And remember to name a backup. You can talk these decisions through with your attorney.

Have you talked with your advisors?

Your advisors can be great sounding boards and provide sage counsel, sharing stories of what others in similar situations have done and how their decisions have worked out for them. Tap into these resources to talk through your needs, make decisions, and put a plan into place. You are not the first to navigate these milestones. Turn on that route guidance and take advantage of your support network — your family, your friends, and your advisors.

Wells Fargo Wealth & Investment Management (WIM) is a division within Wells Fargo & Company. WIM provides financial products and services through various bank and brokerage affiliates of Wells Fargo & Company.

Wells Fargo & Company and its affiliates do not provide tax or legal advice.

Trust services available through banking and trust affiliates in addition to non-affiliated companies of Wells Fargo Advisors. Any estate plan should be reviewed by an attorney who specializes in estate planning and is licensed to practice law in your state.