What is a Financial Plan? by Lee F. Hediger
Posted on November 16, 2017
A financial plan is a written document that lays out your future financial, business and lifestyle goals and maps out comprehensive strategies for achieving them. Contrary to popular belief, financial planning is not just for the wealthy. Rather, it is a critical planning tool that can help all individuals at all income levels make informed financial decisions and prepare for an uncertain future.
Identify your Goals
Before you can map out a plan, you must first define your future financial goals. Are you hoping to go out on your own and establish an entrepreneurial business? Do you intend to keep your children out of debt and help them pay for a college education? Do you expect to retire with enough money to enjoy a particular lifestyle? Do you hope to one day buy a vacation home or enjoy the adventures of frequent travel? Working with an experienced financial advisor can help you to crystallize your vision and identify how to quantify your goals and keep them within the realm of possibility.
Assess your Present Condition
How difficult will it be for you to attain your future financial goals? To answer this questions, you must first understand your current circumstances. A financial advisor can help you to assess your existing assets, investments, and debts and review whether or not they are appropriately titled and structured for your desired benefit. In addition, an advisor can recognize if there are any missing documents, such as wills, insurance policies, estate plans, or succession plans that could impact your ultimate objectives. Additionally, if your situation is complex or in any way unusual, an experienced financial advisor can offer solutions that can potentially forestall problems down the road.
Develop the Plan
The strategies needed to help you move closer to your financial goals will depend on a wide variety of factors, including your time horizon, your comfort with risk and your unique needs, resources and priorities. For example, if you are nearing retirement age, are you maximizing the tools available to help you stop working and continue maintaining your current lifestyle? Are your investment allocations too aggressive or do they expose you to excessive risk at a time when you may need to access those funds? A financial advisor can help you to map out an initial strategy that takes these factors into considerations and help you stay on the path that you agree you can manage and can help you reach your goals.
Regularly Revisit the Plan
As you age and your circumstances change, so too must your financial plan. Life events, such as a career change, marriage, divorce, the birth of a child or the death of a spouse, can affect your financial position and your readiness for reaching your goals. For this reason, it is critical that you meet with your financial advisor at least once per year to make the required adjustments to your plan and your changing goals. A financial plan is only as good as the degree of its execution, and its continued relevance to your fluid life condition
About the Author: Lee F. Hediger is a co-founding director and chief compliance officer with Provenance Wealth Advisors, an Independent Registered Investment Advisor affiliated with Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors and Accountants, and a registered representative with Raymond James Financial Services. For more information, call (954) 712-8888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Provenance Wealth Advisors, 515 E. Las Olas Blvd., Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301 (954) 712-8888.
Lee F. Hediger is a registered representative of and offers securities through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC.
Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse the opinions or services of Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors and Accountants. PWA is not a registered broker/deal and is independent of Raymond James Financial Services. Investment Advisory Services offered through Raymond James Financial Services Advisors, Inc., and Provenance Wealth Advisors.
This material is being provided for information purposes only and is not a complete description, nor is it a recommendation. Any opinions are those of the advisors of PWA and not necessarily those of Raymond James. You should discuss any tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional. Prior to making an investment decision, please consult with your financial advisor about your individual situation.