Contributed by MONROE BANK & TRUST

Your story. It’s built from a lifetime of decisions, moments, and interactions. And it’s also built from hard work, sacrifice, and delayed gratification. Monroe Bank & Trust’s Wealth Planning and Advisory group is here to help. Financial planning is more complicated today than ever before. However, despite new and significant challenges to contend with, the following basic tenets still hold true.

Prioritize Your Retirement

Pay yourself first. Saving should be the first line item in your budget once basic necessities are provided for, followed closely by investing. Start early, start small, but no matter what get started – every dollar will make a big difference 10, 20 or 30 years from now.

If your company offers a 401 (k), enroll and contribute. If it offers a match, take advantage of all that you can receive. If your company does not offer a 401 (k), open a Traditional IRA and contribute to it every year and, if possible, throughout the year – not just at tax time – to get the deduction.

Save for School Early

This is an area where we can easily tell ourselves that we can hold off on saving now because we’ll be making more money when our kids are in school and can pay for it then. However, the unfortunate truth is that most of us receive annual raises that are close to the rate of inflation (2% to 3%), and with the cost of tuition rising at approximately 6% a year, having a financial plan is critical. There are many education savings vehicles – 529 Plans, Coverdale IRAs, etc. – each with its pros and cons and designed for different situations. Make sure to take advantage of the plan that makes the most sense for you and your children.

Start early, start small, but no matter what get started – every dollar will make a big difference 10, 20 or 30 years from now.”

Get an Estate Plan

None of us want to deal with our own mortality, but it’s worse to think about leaving our friends and family with a mess to clean up after we’re gone. Putting together a basic will is relatively straightforward. As you layer the various aspects of your estate with a professional, you’ll build a comprehensive estate plan.

If you think of it as, “Who gets what when I’m gone?”, stop and reframe. It’s really more about getting things set up for your family, your friends, and/or your community to thrive for years to come. It’s about building a legacy that can live on far beyond one or two generations.

Monroe Bank & Trust prides itself on helping their customer’s remarkable stories unfold through an uncommon, optimistic culture.

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