Seven Surefire Ways To Take Charge of Your Money

Hey, friends! When was the last time you looked at your finances? We mean really, genuinely took a deep dive into what you’re making, where it’s going, and how to save for the future.

The private banking and investment gurus at UMB Bank—Jennifer Boxberger and Jenny Rucker—want you to make 2020 the year you take charge of your money—or, as they call it, “become fiscally responsible.” And even if you’re hesitant about tackling that bank statement, doing so can be the first step that helps put you on the path to financial freedom. Since you work hard for your money, Boxberger and Rucker have come up with seven ways to ensure your money is working for you.

1) “Become friends with your banker—that’s what we’re here for,” says Rucker, SVP Private Banker at UMB Bank. Not sure where to start? Find a reputable banker who asks a lot of questions about your goals. “Many clients come in and admit, ‘I’m not familiar with this or that’—and that’s 100 percent okay,” says Rucker. “Never be afraid to ask. The first step is education. We’ll break it down so that you understand and learn the ins-and-outs of your expenses, your investments, and ultimately how you want to plan for the future.”

2) Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Boxberger, a senior investment product analyst at UMB, mentions a 60-something client who didn’t have the slightest idea of where to start after her spouse recently became incapacitated. He had always taken care of the couple’s finances. “We had ongoing conversations, and I asked a lot of tough questions,” says Boxberger. “For many clients, we try to hold them accountable—and vice versa. But it’s refreshing when we can help them gain some much-needed insight about their spending habits and overall investments—or even basic saving fundamentals.”

3) Get it in writing. Boxberger wants to confirm your proverbial Ts are crossed and Is are dotted. “From estate planning to trusts, make sure you have everything mapped out. And we will gladly help with that process,” she says. “It just ensures everything is less stressful for our clients, because everything is already in place.”

Once it’s done, it’s done. No fuss, no muss, no future worrying.  “It’s been my experience that the families who talk the most with each other about legal considerations—wills, power of attorney—will have the smoothest experience with these types of details. The ones who are closed off to these discussions have a rougher time,” says Boxberger. “It’s all about communication, and a trusted financial partner can help with that.”

4) Look into ESG investing. What does ESG stand for, you ask? It means making investments in companies that are committed to being environmentally, socially, or governmentally responsible. “Nearly 80 percent of women are interested in responsible investing. Women tend to align their values with their investments,” says Boxberger. “We call it the ‘three buckets.’ For instance, say solar power is important to you – that could drive you to make environmentally friendly investments. Or maybe data security is a personal priority – this interest may drive you to invest in companies that share similar socially responsible values.” The investment team at UMB Bank will point you in the right direction. “While aligning one’s investments with their values is not a new idea, we are experiencing a dramatic increase in how people want to make a difference and plan with their investment dollars, and to be honest, we’ve noted this particularly among women who are investing,” she says.

5) Consider the fiduciary standard. It’s important to work with a trusted financial partner who can facilitate sometimes tough conversations and who you know has your best interest at heart. “UMB Private Wealth Management is a fiduciary. What that means is that we have to act in your best interest. We have to look out for what matters to you, not to the bank,” says Rucker. “My goal is to get to know you and have a working relationship that goes beyond banking.”

6) Are you in the ‘sandwich generation?’ Plenty of adults—most in their 40s and 50s—are juggling far too many things on their proverbial plates. “They’re overextended taking care of their kids, their parents, their careers, and themselves. They’re stuck in the middle—literally the sandwich generation,” says Rucker. “And women in the sandwich generation tend to take on the brunt of this responsibility. We’re here to help you manage expectations about financial support. Say your children are young adults and you’re still helping them out financially—well, let’s establish a timeline of when the extra support will end. Opening up a dialogue is half the battle.”

7) Two words: Life Insurance. One more: 401K. Boxberger shares a slice-of-life story that rings true. “I can’t emphasize the importance of life insurance enough. My dad died suddenly at 47. Fortunately, at some point, he signed up for life insurance at work,” she says. “It was a serious game-changer for my mom. She didn’t have to worry about money. It was peace of mind.” Rucker adds, “If you’re prepared and have done your due diligence, this can help protect your family’s future.”

401Ks, meanwhile, are practically “free money,” but only if you’re taking advantage of it, says Rucker. “I see it all the time, unfortunately — women whose 401Ks are ‘impoverished’ because they aren’t taking advantage of their employer match or educating themselves on investing. We’ll gladly discuss how to maximize their 401K contributions and what plan of attack to take. By the way, it’s never too late to start investing. Period.”

Banking products offered by UMB Bank, n.a. Member FDIC. Insurance products offered through UMB Insurance, Inc. a wholly-owned subsidiary of UMB Bank, n.a.

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