10 Most Common Failures in Personal Financial Planning

There's a general consensus among financial planners that most people make the same mistakes in planning their personal finances.

1. Failure to have a family budget. A few minutes with a pencil and paper can go a long way toward helping you keep your spending under control.

2. Failure to involve other family members. It's understandable when one spouse makes most of the financial decisions, but it's much easier to meed financial goals if both husban and wife are involved in the planning process. For example, both spouses should meet with the family accountant and lawyer.

3. Failure to insure personal property at replacement value. For a modest sum, you can buy replacement cost insurance for almost all personal property. Discuss possible exceptions with your insurance agent.

4. Failure to use employee benefits properly. The two most common examples are inadequate disability insurance (which is relatively inexpensive to augment) and poor utilization of payroll contributions to savings and retirement plans.

5. Failure to diversify investments. Mutual funds such as index funds which are not investment specific offer the best opportunity for diversification.

6. Failure to use the proper attorney. For preparing wills and trusts, consult an estate-planning specialist instead of a general-practice attorney.

7. Failure to have excess liability insurance. One of the best investments you can make is the very small premium for $1 million in excess liability insurance.

8. Failure to have enough cash for emergencies. The rule-of-thumb to protecy yourself against emergencies is to put aside six months for living expenses.

9. Failure to project taxes. Without proper tax projections, seemingly good investments can create an unexpected cash shortfall.

10. Failure to establish financial goals. Put down on paper exactly what your goals are and what their cost is. then weed out those which are impractical or unattainable.