What is personal planning?
Personal planning is a process that can help you reach goals such as saving and investing for college or retirement, establishing an emergency fund, providing for your family in the event of your death and minimizing income or estate taxes, by evaluating your whole financial picture, then outlining strategies that are tailored to your individual needs and available resources. One of the main benefits of having a financial plan* is that it can help you balance competing financial priorities. A financial plan will clearly show you how your financial goals are related so you can better prioritize them, implement specific strategies and choose suitable products or services. Essentially, a comprehensive financial plan serves as a roadmap to help guide you to financial independence. With a financial plan in place, you will be better able to focus on your goals and understand what it will take to reach them.
What is the personal planning process?
Creating and implementing a comprehensive financial plan generally involves working with financial professionals to, first, develop a clear picture of your current financial situation by reviewing your income, assets and liabilities, and evaluating your insurance coverage, investment portfolio, tax exposure and estate plan. The next step is establishing and prioritizing financial goals and time frames for achieving these goals. Then, your financial planner will help you implement strategies that address your current financial weaknesses and build on your financial strengths, and choose specific products and services that are tailored to meet your financial objectives. The final step is monitoring your plan and making adjustments as your goals, time frames or circumstances change.
How do I stay on track with my financial plan over the years?
The personal planning process does not end once your initial plan has been created. Your plan should generally be reviewed at least once a year to make sure that it is up-to-date. It is also possible that you will need to modify your plan due to changes in the economy or your personal circumstances such as your goals or time horizons change, you experience a life-changing event, you have a specific or immediate financial planning need, your income or expenses substantially increase or decrease, or your portfolio has not performed as expected.
* Financial Planning offered through LPL Financial, a registered investment advisor.
What if I'm too busy?
Do not wait until you are in the midst of a financial crisis before beginning the planning process. The sooner you start, the more options you may have.
Is the financial planning process complicated?
Each financial plan is tailored to the needs of the individual, so how complicated the process will be depends on your individual circumstances. But no matter what type of help you need, a financial professional will work hard to make the process as easy as possible and will gladly answer all of your questions.
Why can't I do it myself?
You can, if you have enough time and knowledge, but developing a comprehensive financial plan may require expertise in several areas. A financial professional can give you objective information and help you weigh your alternatives, saving you time and ensuring that all angles of your financial picture are covered.
What if my spouse and I disagree?
A financial professional is trained to listen to your concerns, identify any underlying issues and help you find common ground.
Can I still Control my own finances?
Personal planning professionals make recommendations, not decisions. You retain control over your finances. Recommendations will be based on your needs, values, goals and time frames. You decide which recommendations to follow and then work with a financial professional to implement them.