BOSTON (CBS) – Life is full of Obstacles! These are the barriers to your financial success. The stock market downturns, a job loss, an illness, a disability, a divorce, a death, a boomerang kid, elderly parents needing financial help.

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These are certainly some of the obstacles you may face as you live life. But having a financial plan, proper insurance and some savings for an emergency will help you manage anything that comes your way.

There are two other obstacles we are sure to encounter; taxes and inflation. So Step 4 of your financial plan is to prepare for these 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.

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Tax planning tips:

  • Keep good records
  • Understand the tax laws and be aware of changes; the IRS is not going to send you an e-mail or a text alert when things change
  • Contribute money pre-tax to your retirement plans and have it grow tax-deferred
  • Use a 529 college savings plan where the money grows tax deferred and withdrawals are tax free

Inflation will always be a problem. Too high or too low as it is now. Worrisome enough that the Federal Reserve Bank would not raise interest rates in September. Last year it clocked in at 1.6%. This year it is running about 0.2%. The Feds would like to see it about 2%.

Energy does cost less right now but many things we buy are still increasing in price. College costs go up every year, as does medical expenses, the cost of food due to the drought out west.

Two barometers I use to gauge everyday inflation is local firewood and parking in Boston. Both of which went up this year.

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