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Getting a Financial Check-up at The Establishment

 Whether you need a little guidance to map out a savings plan, or some major financial counseling, The Establishment by MassMutual offers a great place to start.

In addition to their free classes on a variety of financial topics at The Establishment, MassMutual offers the opportunity to sit down one-on-one with one of their educators for a free “financial checkup.”

“The financial check-up is designed to be an open meeting that’s directed by the class attendee, really along the lines of what’s important to them,” said Ray Pavicich, CFP®, Director of Financial Planning at MassMutual New York State.” Often these meetings are really focused on one or two things, but other times attendees need more general guidance and some more professional insight.”

Pavicich says financial check-up topics often run the gamut from getting a handle on student loans and reducing other forms of debt, to ensuring a retirement plan is set up properly, exploring different investment options, and understanding the various options for life, disability, and health insurance.

Budgeting is a common concern that attendees come with, Pavicich says. They want to better understand their overall cash flow and learn how they can build savings for emergencies and retirement. Others want to learn more about what insurances are available to them, whether they’re enrolled in the right benefits at work, and if they should consider owning insurance outside of what their employer provides.

“Sometimes it’s more specific to a goal,” Pavicich said. “So, for example, maybe they want to begin saving for a house, but they also want to put that in context with saving for a wedding and they don’t want to stop everything else they’re doing. The question becomes ‘How do I strike a balance with saving for a house, and still have money for emergencies and saving for the long-term?’”

Attendees are encouraged to bring any documents they may have that pertain to their area of concern, such as student loan statements or their quarterly investment statements. “I encourage them to bring whatever they have at their fingertips, but don’t not come to the meeting if you don’t have something on paper,” Pavicich said. “We have access to the internet to look up accounts and we can also make calls if they don’t have paper statements.”

While thirty minutes to an hour may not seem like a ton of time to figure out your financial future, the checkup is designed to provide attendees with some action items to help them take charge. It might be a roadmap for short term savings, or a plan of attack to start paying down debt, or some recommendations on investment options or insurance plans to explore.

In addition to a to-do list, the sessions offer some insight on what’s going be feasible for the individual and their circumstances in terms of their goals. “For example,” Pavicich notes, “What should be the size of a house you’re looking to finance based on your income? It’s about getting a realistic view on whether your goals are attainable.”

While some might be nervous or reluctant to pursue a financial checkup because they believe the end game is for the financial advisor to sell them a product, Pavicich points to MassMutual’s philosophy based on “transparency and opting in.” They offer a thorough consultation to get you moving, and give comprehensive information and pricing should you choose to seek out additional services – without being pushy. He also notes that getting a handle on one’s financial health is something that is easily put off or considered not urgent, but it’s up to the individual to make that first move for themselves, and the educators at The Establishment are there when you’re ready.

“Everybody is at a different stage,” Pavicich said. “We provide them with value, even if it’s just a couple of action items that are enough for them to move on. We’re establishing some level of a relationship so that they’ll come back, whether it’s for another class, for additional feedback, or moving on to become our clients.”

Financial check-up sessions typically run from 30 minutes to an hour and can be set up in tandem with one of The Establishment’s free classes, or scheduled at a time that works for the individual. To schedule a free financial check-up, visit The Establishment’s website.

 This content is part of a sponsored series in partnership with MassMutual New York State.

Written by Sarah Maurer

Sarah Maurer

I moved to Buffalo to attend Canisius College in 2007 and began writing for Buffalo Rising as a journalism intern in 2010. Working with Newell and meeting numerous entrepreneurs, activists and everyday folks who were working to make their city better made a huge impact on my decision to stay here. After witnessing all the positive development and grassroots initiatives happening in neighborhoods throughout the city, I was inspired to pursue a term of service in AmeriCorps and a career in Buffalo's non-profit sector. I currently work in the housing department at the Lt. Col. Matt Urban Human Services Center of WNY and am excited to be a part of their ongoing efforts to revitalize the Broadway Fillmore neighborhood. I also volunteer as the project coordinator for Artfarms Buffalo. I continue to write for Buffalo Rising because I love having the opportunity to stay connected to those working toward positive changes for the Queen City.

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