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. Instead, it is a critical planning tool that can help 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 launch an entrepreneurial business? Do you intend to keep your children from debt and help them pay for their college education? Do you expect to retire with enough money to enjoy a particular lifestyle? Do you hope to buy a vacation home or travel the world exploring new destinations? Working with an experienced financial advisor can help you crystallize your vision, 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 these questions, you must first understand your current circumstances. A financial advisor can help you 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 unusual, an experienced financial advisor can offer solutions capable of potentially forestalling problems down the road.
Develop the Plan
The strategies needed to help you move closer to your financial goals will depend on various factors, including your time horizon, comfort with risk, and your unique needs, resources and priorities. For example, if you are nearing retirement age, consider if you are 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 map out an initial strategy that considers these factors and helps you stay on a manageable path to reach your intended goals.
Regularly Revisit the Plan
As you age and your circumstances change, your financial plan will need to be adjusted. 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 to reach your goals. For this reason, it is critical 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 with Provenance Wealth Advisors (PWA), an Independent Registered Investment Advisor affiliated with Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors + CPAs and a registered representative with PWA Securities, LLC. He can be reached at the firm’s Fort Lauderdale, Fla., office at (954) 712-8888 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Provenance Wealth Advisors (PWA), 200 E. Las Olas Blvd., 19th Floor, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301 (954) 712-8888.
Lee F. Hediger is a registered representative of and offers securities through PWA Securities, LLC, Member FINRA/SIPC.
This material is being provided for information purposes only and is not a complete description, nor is it a recommendation. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. There is no guarantee that these statements, opinions or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct.
Any opinions are those of the advisors of PWA and not necessarily those of PWA Securities, LLC. While we are familiar with the tax provisions of the issues presented herein, as Financial Advisors of PWAS, we are not qualified to render advice on tax or legal matters. You should discuss any tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional. Prior to making any investment decision, please consult with your financial advisor about your individual situation.
Updated February 5, 2024