BOSTON (CBS) – These are the barriers to financial success. The landmines of life.

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And life is full of them! Stock market downturn, job loss, illness, disability, divorce, a death, a boomerang kid, you know the kind I mean here. The ones that are grown and that you tossed out once, but they have bounced back. Sometimes fresh out of college or they come home with children of their own to raise

Those are certainly some of the obstacles you may face as you live life. And you’ll never be able to plan for all of them, but having a financial plan, proper insurance and some savings for an emergency will help you manage anything that life throws at you.

There are two other obstacles we will all definitely come up against. Taxes and Inflation. So Step 4 of your financial plan is to prepare for taxes and inflation now and in retirement.

Taxes are fluid. Always changing depending on what the White House and Congress want to do with the economy. Most tax changes come  in December, and I am not even going to try and guess what they might be.

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Good tax planning:

  • Keep good records.
  • Understand the tax laws and be aware of changes; the IRS is not going to send you an e-mail alert when things change.
  • Use your retirement plans where you can contribute money pre-tax and have it grow tax-deferred until you withdraw it.
  • Consider using a 529 college savings plan for the money grows tax deferred and if used for college by the intended recipient there will be no income taxes due.

No matter how hard the Federal Reserve Bank tries inflation will always be around. Last year it clocked in at 1.5%. And so far this year closer to 3%, although gas was down last week.

Inflation has averaged 3% over the last 75 years. And around 2% the last 10 years. College costs though are increasing at an average of 6%, medical expenses reached double digits over 10%. I know my health insurance premium was up over 10%.

So what do you do? You can ask for a raise to cover the increased cost of living but that may not work out very well. If you are retired Social Security does have an inflation component, but again there was no increase last year. But your Medi gap premiums increased! Some pensions have what is known as a COLA. Cost of Living Adjustment.

You want your investments to earn more than the current rate of inflation and more than your tax bracket to keep pace. And you will probably need some stocks in your portfolio for over the long term stocks historically have beaten bonds and savings account to keep up with inflation.

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To find a financial planner to help you achieve your goals and dreams in your area contact the FPA, the Financial Planning Association’s local Boston chapter: or their national website. Check out the free events the Financial Planning Association of Massachusetts has planned.