Are You Ready?

Welcome to 2016! As I blog, snow is falling and will reach the “epic blizzard” proportion overnight. It brings to mind the topic of preparedness, and certainly fits with financial planning.

Just like having the right tools to weather any storm, being prepared for what may happen is 90% of what brings peace of mind.

PLANNING MEANS PREPARING

Are you the type to prepare early, or do you wait to the last minute? Are you a “belt and suspenders” type of planner, or do you like to fly by the seat of your pants?

 

Often, when faced with a major life event, such as changing a job, marital or family status, or inheriting an estate, that signals the need to address your financial plan. Many begin when they are just a few years from retirement. What kind of questions are distracting you, and keeping you awake at night?

Financial planning is an ongoing process, but you have to start somewhere. So, for the first time, it is critical to pull everything together.

  1. Identify your goals: Where do you want to see yourself in 5, 10 years? What have you always wanted to do?
  2. Gather your information – getting it all together in one place can be both painful and a relief!
    1. Income, Spending, Saving, Taxes
    2. Assets, Debts
    3. Investments
    4. Insurance Coverage
    5. Estate Planning
  3. Confirm your risk tolerance and time horizon – by completing a questionnaire, online or otherwise, knowing how you feel about market fluctuations and how long you can save is an important part of your plan. Simple calculators can be found on the internet. More sophisticated versions are provided by advisors.
  4. Analyze and review the output to see where you are on the path toward your goals.

For some, getting organized will be an exercise that they have not done in many years; even thinking about goals can be daunting.  However, having everything in one place will actually bring a semblance of order and you may be pleasantly surprised with the result.

GETTING THE PICTURE

Seeing how your outcome lines up with your goals can be an eye opener! But as in anything, knowledge is power.

A financial plan should not be limited to a bunch of charts and graphs and a couple of lines about what to do; it should consider options, education and recommendations.  What-if scenarios can help clients understand what may have to change in order for goals to be reached.  It’s a stake in the ground.

The next step is “filling the holes” to work toward your goals. My next post will lay out steps toward achieving your plans.

Stay safe and warm in this crazy winter weather.  Having your basic needs met is a step in the right direction – shelter, heat, food.  If you’ve taken those steps, you’re achieving a goal.

Donna

 

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