Financial Planning: Personal

Situation 1:
Fran and Ed Blake, ages 43 and 47, have a daughter who is completing her first year of college and a son three years younger. Currently, they have $42,000 in savings and investment funds set aside for their children’s education. With increasing education costs, they are concerned whether this amount is adequate. In recent months, Fran’s mother has required extensive medical attention and personal care assistance. Unable to live alone, she is now a resident of a long-term care facility. The cost of this service is $4,750 a month, with annual increases of about 5 percent. While a major portion of the cost is covered by Social Security and her pension, Fran’s mother is unable to cover the entire cost. In addition, Fran and Ed are concerned about saving for their own retirement. While they have consistently made annual deposits to a retirement fund, current financial demands may force them to access some of that money.

Situation 2:
“While I knew it might happen someday, I didn’t expect it right now.” This was the reaction of Patrick Hamilton when his company merged with another organization and moved its offices to another state, resulting in him losing his job. Patrick does have some flexibility in his short-term finances since he has three months of living expenses in a saving account. However, “three months can go by very quickly,” as Patrick noted.

Situation 3:
Nina Resendiz, age 23, recently received a $12,000 gift from her aunt. Nina is considering various uses for these unexpected funds including paying off credit card bills from her last vacation or setting aside money for a down payment on a house. Or she might invest the money in a tax-deferred retirement account. Another possibility is using the money for technology certification courses to enhance her earning power. Nina also wants to contribute some of the funds to a homeless shelter and a world hunger organization. She is overwhelmed by the choices and comments to herself, “I want to avoid the temptation of wasting the money on impulse items. I want to make sure I use the money on things with lasting value.”

1. For each situation, identify the main financial planning issues that need to be addressed.
2. What additional information would you like to have before recommending actions in each situation?
3. Based on the information provided and your assessment of the situation, what actions would you recommend for the Blakes, Patrick, and Nina?

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