We’ve all been at a dinner party when someone asks, “What do you do?”. When I say I am a financial planner, it is quickly followed by, “What does that mean?”. I learned my assumption that people knew financial planners create financial plans was incorrect. When digging a little deeper when asked this question I found what they are really asking is; what is a financial plan? My industry is notorious for being complicated so I thought it best to unravel the mystery of financial planning in today’s blog post.
WHO NEEDS A FINANCIAL PLAN:
The short answer is anyone who has financial goals needs a financial plan. As the adage goes, a goal without a plan is just a dream. Financial plans vary from person to person based on objectives like paying off debt, accumulating assets, or creating an income plan for retirement. As a person moves through life, their financial plan will progress as their goals and objectives change. People who want to measure progress toward financial goals especially benefit. Making the plan work and staying on target is as important as having a plan.
WHAT IS A FINANCIAL PLAN:
A financial plan is a written document that outlines goals, actionable steps, and measures of success. In essence, it’s a guide for the future. At BWA our plan is The Financial Life Map Strategy™ (FLMS). It identifies investor’s financial milestones and links them over a timeline with strategies and assets. As a firm, we want to unite spouses and our plans are designed to do just that. These documents should be active and responsive to your life. Be sure to review the plan annually with your planner. The best financial plans are flexible, because life has its way of changing even the best laid plans.
WHERE IS A FINANCIAL PLAN CREATED:
In the past, most financial plans were created at the office of the financial planner. Thanks to technology we create plans for individuals and families all over the country.
WHEN DO YOU CREATE A FINANCIAL PLAN:
Most investors experience a life event that impacts their finances before creating a financial plan. This can be marriage, retirement, divorce, or loss of a parent or spouse. In our experience, having a plan in place can lower the stress of life events. Another benefit to creating a plan early is to have guidelines for making sound financial decisions. Many think creating wealth is about how much investments earn but in reality, it is more important to avoid financial missteps.
WHY HAVE A FINANCIAL PLAN:
Your financial future depends on it, plain and simple. As Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”.
HOW WE CREATE FINANCIAL PLANS:
Creating a plan at BWA is a collaborative process. We begin with a Capabilities Meeting to learn all we can about the individual’s finances and allow them to ask their important questions of us. Once both parties determine to move forward, we schedule a Discovery Meeting where we gather detailed financial information regarding goals, objectives, assets, and income. The final step is the presentation of the FLMS. In this meeting we review where the client started and what the path ahead looks like.
Hopefully now financial planning is a little less mysterious and you are inspired to create a financial plan of your own. The process is not as daunting as it may seem. Remember, your future is counting on you.