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Quarantine Is The Time To Handle Financial Planning You've Been Putting Off, Expert Says

(KPIX 5) -- With many of us spending so much extra time at home, financial experts say it's the perfect time to handle financial planning tasks we may have been putting off.

Some of us often put off the thought of our future finances--making a will, helping an aging parent or navigating a job loss--and chalk it up to a busy daily life. But on week five of this shelter-in-place, financial advisers say we should put that thought into action.

Cathlin Torrence has a lot to think about these days with a 96-year-old father whom she wants to keep healthy. "Most people--I'm not going to think about it, it's too depressing, it's not going to happen. Those are the things that we need to address right now because, obviously, especially, this is a really creepy time," Torrence said.

One thing she is relieved to not have to give much though to is her dad's finances. She lived in Berkeley for 30 years, but recently moved to Oregon and got her whole family financially organized in the process. "I mean, I feel like I could now write a book after doing this and how challenging it is," Torrence said.

Certified financial planner Rich Arzaga of Cornerstone Wealth Management helped Torrence out and says now is the perfect time to secure your financial matters that sometimes take a backseat when life is hectic. Composing your will or a will for your elderly parent is one of those to-do list items that is possible to check off.

He says for now, just get something in writing that can be more thoroughly reviewed later. "Yes, do something. And take this time, because this is a great opportunity to pick up on the loose pieces that are left on your financial floor," Arzaga said.

In addition to estate planning for an elderly parent, Arzaga also suggests familiarizing yourself with their cash flow and living arrangements. Cash flow is also important to assess if you've recently lost your job. He says you should make sure you know what health insurance you're eligible for and make lists of your assets and debts.

While Arzaga admits that these can be uncertain financial times, seeking out help from an expert is more accessible than ever. And in his experience, connecting virtually hasn't taken away from the personal connection at all.

"They're the deepest conversations that we've had for many of our clients. So this has actually been a real game changer in a positive way," Arzaga said.

If you need to start from ground zero on keeping track of your finances, Arzaga suggests collecting tax documents, healthcare documents and legal documents and keeping them somewhere safe, but accessible.

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