For most of us, checkups are a regular part of life. Dental visits, auto maintenance appointments and even glances in the bathroom mirror all help us monitor performance, catch potential problems and assure us that all is – or will be – well.

What's true of teeth, engines and grooming is also true of finances: regular checkups are recommended. Why? Changes both great and small affect the strategies people have developed to help achieve their financial goals. Unfortunately, too many people act as though once their financial program is in place their work is done. But this isn't the case. 

As a general rule, Thrivent Financial recommends you review your financial program at least once each year. Certain life changes – the birth or adoption of a child, a change in marital status (married, divorced or widowed), the death of a family member or changes to your health – should serve as reminders that a financial tune-up is in order.

Other changes in personal economics can also have a huge impact on financial programs. These may include shifts in employment status or salary (e.g. loss of job or a pay cut/freeze), home ownership changes, significant changes in total assets or debt, the receipt of an inheritance and tax law changes that can all make previous strategies obsolete.

If you have a do-it-yourself mentality, a number of print and electronic resources exist to help you monitor your finances on a regular basis. However, most can benefit from the knowledge, experience and insight that financial services professionals can offer.

Qualified financial professionals can help people evaluate their present financial strategies and stay current on new laws, regulations, products and economic developments. Even more important, financial professionals can challenge the unrealistic assumptions that people may have and help them overcome money management's greatest threat: procrastination. 

To live is to experience change. How and when change will appear is impossible to predict, but a financial checkup is one sure way to help your financial objectives – and your sense of financial confidence – keeps pace with all that occurs.

This article was prepared by Thrivent Financial for use by Tri-County Area representative John Lauer. He has an office at 3821 Main Street in Morgantown, and can also be reached at 610-286-5986.

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