Are you wondering if you are on track for a solid financial future? A financial plan will answer that question and more. After all, wouldn’t you want to secure your tomorrow while living well today?
Who is a candidate for a financial plan?
Success is getting what you want by having a clearly defined path to get there or lowering your expectations. In my experience, highly successful people have different needs for financial planning. Though they have the resources, they are often time-constrained and neglect the upfront commitment planning required to fix financial disorganization and properly identify goals (not to mention go through the process of finding a trusted professional to work with). However, the need for a trusted financial professional should be a top priority for highly successful individuals.
To be more specific, if you have a goal that sounds like some of the examples below, then you are a candidate for a financial plan.
- I want to maintain (or improve) my current lifestyle in retirement
- I want to retire early so I can travel
- I want to sell my primary home and move to a home (or condo) in a different state
- I want to fund my grandkids’ college education
- I want to donate significant assets each year to a specific charity
- I want to take my family on a week-long vacation every other year for the next ten years
- I want to make sure each of my kids ends up with no debt and $1mm in assets
- I want to protect against health care costs consuming my wealth
What is in a financial plan?
A basic financial plan consists of an inventory of assets and liabilities (net worth), clearly defined (short-term and long-term) goals, and the ability to track progress towards reaching those goals.
With my clients, I use a financial plan to assist in making the best possible decisions with them (and their other trusted advisors) – on taxes, saving, spending, health care, debts, philanthropy, insurance, gifting, and inheritance. By addressing all aspects of your financial lifestyle, you’ll be better equipped to determine what needs to change and how to improve your financial situation.
Why have a financial plan?
In the simplest form, you need a financial plan to check your progress in reaching goals and objectives. Notice I didn’t say “financial goals.” Everyone wants to make and have more money, and while it certainly helps provide more options, it is not the goal. You need a financial plan to reach your life goals; money is just the tool, and your plan will connect the two. In addition, working with a financial planning professional will give you the ability to see how minor changes you make to your life can drastically influence your future.
A plan can answer what happens if you retire earlier (or later), spend more (or less), and how different market/economic environments would impact your situation. It’s there to keep you focused on the important things when the road gets bumpy, which it most certainly will.
Living life without a plan is like trying to get to a destination without a map. For those of you who haven’t, I recommend making the commitment and seeking out a professional to get your financial plan started today.