Years ago, I hosted a weekly call with a group of women to help them think differently about their lives.

One of the prevailing themes that came out of our sessions is that many of us live a life of default.

What does that mean?

It means we go through the motions, get up, go to work or run our business, make money, maybe invest a little and that’s it.

One of my favorite books is Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Dr. Angela Duckworth.

The book is about what it takes to persevere. In one of my favorite “aha” moments of the book, Dr. Duckworth wonders why she, an avid runner, is no faster today than when she was eighteen.

She discovered that she had not improved because she didn’t have specific goals tied to her running. She would slap on her shoes, head out the door for her run, and that was it.

How did she come to this discovery?

By speaking with K. Anders Ericsson, a renowned Psychologist and the foremost authority on human performance.

Through this conversation with Dr. Ericsson, Dr. Duckworth was able to see the big picture.

Why another pair of eyes matter
Do you picture yourself owning a new home, starting a business, or retiring comfortably? These are a few of the financial goals that may be important to you, and each comes with a price tag attached.

That’s where financial planning comes in. Financial planning is a process that can help you target your goals by evaluating your whole financial picture, then outlining strategies that are tailored to your individual needs and available resources.

It’s very easy to get lost in the minutiae of life and finances if you do not have someone there to coach you and make sense of everything.

Why is financial planning important?
A comprehensive financial plan serves as a framework for organizing the pieces of your financial picture. With a financial plan in place, you’ll be better able to focus on your goals and understand what it will take to reach them.

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–for example, saving for your children’s college education might impact your ability to save for retirement.

Then you can use the information you’ve gleaned to decide how to prioritize your goals, implement specific strategies, and choose suitable products or services. Best of all, you’ll know that your financial life is headed in the right direction.

The financial planning process
Creating and implementing a financial plan generally involves working with someone like me to:

  • Develop a clear picture of your current financial situation by reviewing your income, assets, and liabilities and evaluating your insurance coverage, your investment portfolio, your tax exposure, and your estate plan
  • Establish and prioritize financial goals and time frames for achieving these goals
  • Implement strategies that address your current financial weaknesses and build on your financial strengths
  • Choose specific products and services that are tailored to help meet your financial objectives*
  • Monitor your plan, making adjustments as your goals, time frames, or circumstances change

Why can’t I do it myself?
You can, if you have enough time and knowledge. You can also diagnose, treat, and “cure” every ailment you have from childhood through adulthood on your own, but you don’t.

You rely on doctors and specialists who have dedicated their lives to caring for others.

Developing a financial plan may require expertise in several areas, and while you may be an expert in some areas, it doesn’t hurt to have another person review everything or help make sense of it all.

Staying on track
The financial planning process doesn’t end once your initial plan has been created. Your plan should generally be reviewed at least once a year to ensure that it’s up-to-date.

It’s also possible that you’ll need to modify your plan due to changes in your circumstances or the economy.

If you’ve created a financial plan, here are some of the events that might trigger a review of your financial plan (i.e., it’s time to sit down with an advisor):

  • Your goals or time horizons change
  • You experience a life-changing event such as marriage, the birth of a child, health problems, or a job loss
  • You have a specific or immediate financial planning need (e.g., drafting a will, managing a distribution from a retirement account, paying long-term care expenses)
  • Your income or expenses substantially increase or decrease
  • Your portfolio hasn’t performed as expected
  • You’re affected by changes to the economy or tax laws
  • You want to learn more about particular investment types (i.e., cryptocurrency)

Common questions my clients have about financial planning
What if I’m too busy?
You don’t wait until you’re in 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 depend on your circumstances.

But no matter what type of help you need, our firm operates in a judgment-free zone.

What if my spouse and I disagree?
This happens quite often, and it’s ok.

As a financial professional, I’m trained to listen to your concerns, identify any underlying issues, and help you and your partner find common ground.

Can I still control my finances?
As a financial professional, I make recommendations, not decisions. You retain control over your finances.

Recommendations are based on your needs, values, goals, and time frames. You decide which advice to follow, then we work together to implement them.

If you’re ready to work on your finances and make a difference in 2022, get in touch to learn more about our 6-week financial planning engagement.

Over six weeks, we’ll work together to make sense of your finances, plan for big goals and create an investment portfolio consisting of traditional investments (stocks, bonds, etc.) and alternative investments, all based on your risk tolerance.


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