As the year comes to an end, are you and your family financially up to date?

The sooner you figure out your financial future, the more headaches you can avoid when answers are no longer available

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Nothing says Thanksgiving like turkey, pumpkin pie and, of course, family. But this Thanksgiving, try setting a new tradition — having a financial discussion.

For many families, this is one of the few times of the year when everyone is under one roof, making it the perfect opportunity to talk about the family’s financial situation.

Local financial professional Jason Laux from Synergy Group has some great tips on how to get the discussion started along with the most important topics to cover.

If you’re a parent, a good way to start the conversation is by explaining the importance of simply asking questions. Many adults try avoiding financial conversations with their parents because they think their parents’ finances are none of their business.

Laux says that statement couldn’t be more wrong. By openly discussing parents’ finances, children will be prepared to take over once a parent passes away or can no longer take care of their finances on their own.

The sooner you figure out your financial future, the more headaches you can avoid when answers are no longer available.

Laux suggests at least talking about estate plans, healthcare, income, expenses and financial records.

Talk about the details of your will (or create one) and about considering a financial power of attorney, health care power of attorney, letter of intent and a designated guardian for your children. After all, a will is the cornerstone of an estate plan, allowing you to say who gets what when you die.

Healthcare isn’t just one of the biggest expenses for retirees, it’s also one of the most unpredictable, yet people often overlook it. So, when discussing healthcare, talk about your medical insurance plan and everything it entails. Talk to your children about granting them permission to speak with your doctors.

Talk about your income, debt and expenses so your children are in the know if they need to take over. Tell them that if necessary, you will provide them with written permission to contact your financial professional.

Finally, discuss your financial records and where they are kept. This can be for investments, tax returns, bank accounts, usernames and passwords.

As Thanksgiving passes and the year closes out, remember to always keep the door open when it comes to talking about finances with your family.

Along with talking about the above topics, Laux also has five smart money moves for people to think about for their individual taxes.

  1. Prep for tax season: get organized by gathering all of your information (income, expenses, deductions, investments, etc.) before the tax filing season opens in January
  2. Reduce your tax bill: take charge of 2018 by making early payments, bumping up your 401(k) contributions and donating to charities
  3. Set your 2018 financial plan: look at your 2017 expenses and see what can be cut for next year so you can bump up your savings
  4. Convert from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA: make the conversion in November or December so you can start withdrawing your earnings tax-free a full year earlier than if you wait until January to convert
  5. Check your insurance: make sure your life insurance covers about 10 to 15 times your current salary, and make sure your beneficiaries are up to date

Overall, Laux recommends sitting down with a trusted financial advisor sooner rather than later to help make sure your family is financially set for life.

For more tips from Laux, visit www.synergygroupinc.com.

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