“Jeremy seemed to like this because the money could be used for many purposes. He should explore the trade-offs of both,” says Rowell, who recommends McMullen talk with a tax professional to help him make a choice. Rowell suggests using the $2,000 contest winnings to seed the college fund and then saving $100 a month systematically. If he starts with $2,000 and adds $100 a month, assuming a 6% average rate of return annually, he would have nearly $40,000 in 17 years.
• Protect and prepare for the future: While McMullen has a $400,000 life insurance policy through the Navy, he’s vulnerable. “He should consider an additional, outside policy. He recommends that McMullen consider an $800,000, 30-year policy, which would cost $80 a month. “He’s young, healthy; a term policy would be inexpensive and help take care of his son’s needs,” says Rowell. “He has a 1-year-old son and no will. If something happens to Jeremy, the state will determine what happens to his son. He needs to speak with an attorney and get his will and trust done.”
Rowell also suggests McMullen consider buying a long-term care policy now obtain disability insurance through his employer.
• Tighten budget: There are several online tools offered by Wells Fargo or websites such as Mint.com that will help keep him on track to meet his financial goals. Rowell recommends McMullen find a good financial adviser and meet at least once a year for an annual checkup to determine adjustments to his finances.
–By Karen Thomas