You are not alone! Here at the firm we are getting more calls for financial planning services than ever before. People are crazy busy, distracted and overwhelmed with normal life and that's before you take into account an uncertain economy and more options for saving and investing than ever before. Where do you start? With a plan, of course!
Bringing all the pieces of your financial life together.
From budgeting, to planning for retirement, to saving for education, a second home, managing your taxes and your insurance coverages - "finances" doesn't mean just one thing for most Americans. And "financial planning" means much more than just investing. Bringing it all together in one plan and in context of your goals and needs is a challenging task.
Goals and Plans Lead to Clarity, Comfort & Confidence
So what is financial planning? It is the ongoing process of helping you make sensible decisions about your whole financial picture which increases the odds you'll achieve your most heartfelt goals. We are not just talking about buying stocks or contributing to your 401k. It might involve putting appropriate wills in place to protect your family, considering how your family would survive without your income should you fall sick or die prematurely, realistic retirement planning and spending and saving money differently. Your plan involves thinking about all these things together and it can be challenging. It takes time, effort, thought, commitment and knowledge. Do you have the time to handle on your own? Do you have the desire?
Financial Planning Process
Coming up with a solid financial plan means doing some homework on your part. If you know you need to work with a qualified person to accomplish, a Certified Financial Planner can be a good place to start. From examining your current situation, to setting goals, to deciding how to measure your progress, a CFP® professional can be quite helpful in taking you through the process which is noted below.
- Agree on how to work together. Set expectations, deliverables, time frame and discuss planning costs.
- Gather information about your finances and set goals. What's your financial situation today? What are your goals, short and long term? How do you handle market volatility?
- Analyze and strategize. Where and how are your financial assets invested today? Analyzing everything, in context of your needs and goals, means reviewing all your assets, liabilities, cash flow, insurance coverages, tax strategies, etc.
- Develop recommendations. What changes/adjustments/additions make sense in light of your newly clarified goals and plan?
- Put plan in motion. How will recommendations be implemented? Can you or do you wish to handle on your own or do you want to continue to work with the CFP® professional for investment management? Some firms, like KSH Advisors, offer investment management and others focus purely on financial planning.
- Monitor progress and stay on track. Determine who, how and when progress will be measured to increase the likelihood that your goals can be met.
As you can see, it is an involved and time consuming process but clients have found the benefits immeasurable. The comfort they gain from having a plan grounded in their most heartfelt goals and needs provides confidence in their financial future. And they tell us that is "a whole lot of something good." We agree!