Financial Planning is an ongoing process of developing strategies to manage all areas of your financial life. Money and money management is the number one reason for relationship stresses and demise. Most people have the need for strong financial plans and coaching, but studies show only around 32% of us have something in place. That leaves nearly 70% of the population without a plan.
There are so many facets of your financial life to address, but first you must do your homework and figure out where you are starting. What are your income and expenses, your short-term and long-term goals? Are you planning on retiring at a certain age; do you want to be able to pay for your child’s college education? Do you own a home, or plan to buy one?
Where do you start? Here are the 5 most important categories of financial planning topics that everyone should address at some point in their financial lives in order of importance:
Retirement Planning/Investment Planning
Be your own financial coach. Educate yourself and assemble the right professional team to support your goals.
Budgeting – S/T Spending; Credit Management
Risk Management – Insurance
Wealth Planning – Retirement Planning and Personal Wealth Management
Estate Planning – Wills, trusts, titling assets
by Angela McCoy, National Award Winning Financial Coach
In today's financial marketplace, there are thousands of professionals holding themselves out as financial experts. Some in specific areas, others hold themselves out to be full service financial advisors. What most people do not know is that most of these so-called experts are not regulated by any government entity or national certification program; they are salespeople.
Anyone with or without a relevant college qualification can hang out a shingle and call themselves a financial advisor, accountant, bookkeeper, financial coach, financial consultant or financial planner. Without looking any deeper, you may think by looking at their title, that these individuals know what they are talking about. I caution you to do your homework and look for more.
Often experts are governed by an entity for competence in one area, yet they are often thought of as a clients' only financial advisor. This can be a problem. People tend to think they are getting all the financial advice they need from this one expert. Again, I caution. Insurance sales representatives are often licensed to sell Mutual Funds, but rarely have tax expertise or investment expertise outside of that one investment. Bankers may sell investments, but may not have expertise in risk management, trusts or taxes. Bookkeepers are not regulated by any authority, yet give financial advice freely.
Be your own coach, assemble a team. Look for certifications that indicate a professional is at least monitored and tested for ethical behavior and subject matter competence. Certified Financial Planners (CFP) are the only full service financial professionals trained and tested in all aspects of personal financial advising and planning. Others to consider for your team are Registered Investment Advisors, Certified Public Accountants, Estate Attorneys, Chartered Financial Consultants, Licensed Tax Preparers/Brokers, among others. Don't forget to ask them how they get paid! They are required to tell you!
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