Expecting the Unexpected – 5 Steps to Protect You and Your Family

David Tepp CPA, PFS, MBA 

How many times have you had a close call while driving on a highway? Imagine one day you can’t avoid it and you are badly injured or worse. If you are unable to work and generate your typical income, would your family be able to make ends meet? If you are not there for your family, would they have the lifestyle you hope?

Everything you have worked for is constantly under threat. Events that can significantly impact your personal finances occur daily and virtually everyone is susceptible. Some of these risks include:

Loss of employment or business income

Sign Up for E-News

Significant illnesses

Auto or other accidents

Identity fraud

Personal liability lawsuits

The odds are, you know at least one person who has been affected by one of these circumstances.  If you are not confident you are protected, then you need to act. Here are five simple steps you can take right now to protect yourself and your loved ones:

#1        Stay liquid – depending on your individual income sources and expense habits, generally you should keep 4-6 months of expenses in savings at all times.  This will prove crucial in the event you suffer from an unexpected loss of income.

#2        Monitor your credit report and banking activity – everyone in New Jersey can get their credit report for free each year.  See below for the state government link to obtain yours.


Unfortunately, it is no longer uncommon to be a victim of identity fraud. The best method of protecting yourself is to monitor your banking and credit card activity at least two times per week. If anything looks suspicious, contact your bank immediately.

#3        Obtain or update your will – As a financial professional, I am amazed at how many people have neglected to obtain a living will or update their existing will. Depending on the circumstances, it can be a relatively simple process and you will likely save your heirs a tremendous amount of difficulty and, very possibly, tax dollars.  Remember to update the beneficiary information on each of your insurance and investment accounts, too.

#4        Secure your documents – Whether by natural disaster or human error, our homes are at risk.  While you likely have home insurance, consider that if your home is destroyed, your critical documents may be destroyed as well.  Today’s technology enables individuals to secure their documents electronically but, if storing private information on the internet causes you concern, consider using a more traditional method such as a safe deposit box or a fire-proof safe for your home.

#5        Meet with your financial planner – Knowing exactly how to structure your personal finances can be tricky.  Do you have a comprehensive financial plan that is monitored regularly? Ask for help and, to ensure that you are working with the right professional, be certain that your advisor is:

a)      Certified in financial planning

b)     Has knowledge of the relevant tax matters

c)      Is available to you whenever you have a question, and

d)     Is committed to your best interests

David Tepp CPA, PFS, MBA is a tax and financial planning professional and the President of Tepp Accounting Services (www.teppabs.com) located in Westfield, NJ.  If you have any questions or comments, please contact dtepp@teppabs.com or 908-233-1221.

 The Guest Column is our readers' opportunity to write about a given issue or topic in an in-depth and educational manner.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

Free Living History Event Showcases World War I Centennial

April 19, 2018

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders invites residents and visitors to experience battlefield life as a World War I American Salvation Army volunteer, featuring Ms. Laurie MacDonald-Gaulke, actress and storyteller, in a special free presentation of “Doughnuts for Doughboys: A Salvation Army Lassie in France.”

Doughnuts for Doughboys takes place on Tuesday, April 25 at ...

Softball: Justina Benvenuto Named Union Catholic's Girls Conference Athlete of Week

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- After bursting on the scene with a fabulous freshman softball season at Union Catholic last year, there was a lot of hype surrounding Justina Benvenuto as she entered her sophomore season.

Benvenuto has more than lived up to all the lofty expectations, both on the mound and at the plate as she has sparked the Vikings to a 6-1 record this spring.

Benvenuto has been ...

Lunch & Learn: 'Israel at 70: Its Meaning and Value in Jewish Identity' with Professor Kenneth W. Stein Apr. 22

SUMMIT, NJ - For four decades, Kenneth W. Stein has taught Middle Eastern History and Political Science at Emory University. His scholarship focuses on the politics of the modern Arab world, American foreign policy toward the Middle East, modern Israel, and the Arab-Israeli negotiating process. Stein earned awards at Emory for excellence in teaching and life-long mentorship of ...

Thank You, St. Joseph's Volunteers

April 16, 2018

Thank You from St. Joseph Social Service Center

In recognition of National Volunteer Week, we would like to express our gratitude to the countless volunteers that serve the poor and homeless at St. Joseph Social Service Center in Elizabeth (http://www.sjeliz.org).  Whether you make a sandwich, collect toiletries, tutor in the job program, make soup, wrap Christmas gifts, donate food, ...

New Providence Borough Council to Cultivate Relationships with County Officials

April 12, 2018

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – Councilman Robert Robinson touted the importance of personal relationships with Union County representatives at the Monday, April 9 council meeting.

Union County Freeholders Angel Estrada and Bette Jane Kowalski attended the Street Smart campaign kick-off event prior to the meeting providing the council members with the opportunity to chat face-to-face with the two ...

Chatham Township Committee Unanimously Adopts Ordinance to Ban Marijuana Retail Sales; Cannabis Advocates Disagree

April 13, 2018

CHATHAM, NJ - Chatham Township Mayor Curt Ritter began the new year by pledging to oppose Gov. Phil Murphy's plan to legalize the recreational use of marijuana and Thursday night he followed through by voting to adopt an ordinance that prohibits "marijuana cultivation, production testing, manufacturing facilities and retail stores' in the township.

The Chatham Township Committee ...

Upcoming Events


Sat, April 21, 11:00 AM

Our Lady of Peace , New Providence

Our Lady of the Peace Church Holds Healing & ...

Sun, April 22, 1:00 PM

17 Kent Place Boulevard, Summit

Self-Care Event

Health & Wellness

Sun, April 22, 1:00 PM

17 Kent Place Boulevard, Summit

Self-Care Event

Health & Wellness

Sun, April 22, 1:00 PM

Miller-Cory House Museum, Westfield

Sheep to Shawl Festival


Sun, April 22, 1:00 PM

Miller-Cory House Museum, Westfield

Sheep to Shawl Festival

Education Other

Getting Real About Retirement – Will You Have Enough Money to Remain Comfortable?

Let’s get real about retirement. Will you have enough to remain comfortable in retirement for 30 years or more?  Studies show this is a recurring fear many Americans have - and for good reason. Many Americans are completely unprepared to fund a comfortable retirement, and remain naive about the actual costs involved.  As a Fee-Only financial advisor, my number one priority is ...