4 Family Financial Planning Basics

Does your family have “a plan?” I spoke with Michael Garcia from Merrill Lynch last week, and he gave some great advise on how to make sure you are covered on the financial family planning essentials.

1. A Money Management Plan
The best way to manage your money is by finding a reliable financial advisor like Michael Garcia from Merrill Lynch. They have a lot of knowledge about ways to channel your money and the current state of the “market.” Michael says that managing your money is like washing your hair – “lather. rinse. repeat.” In financial terms, come up with a strategy (rinse), implement it (rinse) and monitor (repeat). The Real Gek Dad and I have made it a priority to teach our children how to handle money at a young age. Here’s Michael’s advice on how to implement this strategy:

Drop money into Piggy Bank (CASH)
Open a Passbook Savings (SAVINGS)
Buy one share of stock (INVEST)

2. An Education Plan
More important than an actual SAVINGS plan is a plan for exactly how much of your family’s resources you’re willing to put toward education. Don’t rob Peter to pay Paul! If there isn’t a higher-education education plan in place, you risk robbing the other facets of your financial health. Know ahead of time EXACTLY how much you plan to fund and stick to that plan. Michael suggest a 529 Savings Plan. It’s tax-free, and all you need is your child’s social security number.

3. A Contingency Plan
Do you have life insurance? Health insurance? Disability? Do you have a will? A trust? Medical directives? Durable powers of attorney? A full-fledged estate plan? You might not need all of it, but it’s all worth thinking about. Contact Michael or another wealth management advisor in your area or an estate attorney, if necessary.

4. A Fun Plan
It’s great to save for retirement and college and overall financial health, but it’s never going to be worth it if you don’t also pay yourself back with truly rewarding experiences. Make sure you fund a plan to make memories and fulfill life-long dreams. You want to take a European cruise? Buy a new house or your dream car? Put it in your plan! It may take you a while to get there, but having a FUN goal makes the rest of the work worthwhile.


  1. Having adequate insurance protection is certainly important these days. You may resent having to pay a monthly premium but at least you can be sure that your family’s financial security won’t be compromised should unfortunate events occur.


  1. […] an experienced, capable advisor, like Merrill Lynch’s Michael Garcia, gives you the services of someone who knows the landscape of investing and other necessary […]

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