Your Beneficiaries Matter: Check Who They Are [Video] 

by Financial Design Studio, Inc. / April 4, 2022

It’s time to do a really quick check of your beneficiaries. This is something that is really easily overlooked. I want to review some of the common accounts where you need to set a beneficiary because this is what states who inherits the funds that are in these accounts. 

So here is a common list:

IRA or Roth IRA

When you think of your IRA or Roth IRA, these are accounts where you actually list who the beneficiary is. 


An HSA, also known as you Health Savings Account.

401(k) or 403(b)

Your 401(k) or 403(b), so really any of your retirement accounts. These are actually things you set with your employer. It is very common if you’ve worked somewhere for 30 years, you might have started working there right out of college, and maybe you put a parent or a sibling. Now you are married with children and you forgot to update those retirement accounts.

This is why this is such a big thing to check, because it is so easily missed.

Life Insurance

The last one here is life insurance.  Again, this is one when you set up these policies, you set them up as a 30 year term policy perhaps.  Then you listed who the beneficiary is, but again, we forget to go back and check them to make sure they are up to date with who we would want them to be.

Primary & Contingent

What you are looking for is that you have a primary beneficiary. That means if something happens to you this is the first person who will inherit these assets.  And then just in case the primary beneficiary pre-deceases you then you need to have a contingent beneficiary listed.  And that just means that if the primary is not living, then the contingent beneficiary will inherit the assets. 

Whenever you are making these changes to these accounts to update beneficiaries, if you haven’t already. As you are checking off each one from the list, be sure to just print out a confirmation or a summary so that you know you made a change and you are up to date. That way you have a record of it. 

Ultimately, when you are checking your beneficiaries and making sure the primary and contingent are the people you want to be receiving your assets because they are the ones that you love.  So we are caring for them by doing this quick check of who the beneficiaries are. 

Ready to take the next step?

Schedule a quick call with our financial advisors.

Recommended Reading

Michelle Smalenberger and Shelly Nizysnki Reese on Becoming a not for profit

Podcast Episode 31: From Passion to Action: Becoming a Not-For-Profit with Shelley Nizynski Reese

In this episode Shelley Nizynski Reese, founder of A Better Life for Kids, shares her story of becoming a not-for-profit

Financial Advisors for High Net Worth Investors on Smart Holiday Shopping

Podcast Episode 30: Smart Holiday Shopping

In this episode, we discuss holiday shopping for for kids or adults, creating family traditions, finding bargains, and giving experiences.

Financial Design Studio, Inc.

We are financial advisors in Deer Park and Barrington, IL. A team with a passion for helping others design a path to financial success — whatever success means for you. Each of our unique insights fit together to create broad expertise, complete roadmaps, and creative solutions. We have seen the power of having a financial plan, and adjusting that plan to life. The result? Freedom from worrying about the future so you can enjoy today.