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Frequently Asked Questions About the Financial Planning Process

| June 07, 2017
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A personalized financial plan can provide a powerful tool in helping you take action toward reaching your goals.

For many, working through the financial planning process for the first time will be the best step they could take toward financial security and peace of mind.

So what should you expect from the financial planning process and what can you do to ensure you get the best roadmap for your financial success?

What should I expect to get out of the planning process?

A good plan should give you a detailed, comprehensive snapshot of your current financial situation, a thorough modeling of where you want to be, and what actions you need to take to reach those goals. There are many moving parts to a good financial plan and, through the planning process, you should gain an understanding of how those things function and relate to one another.

My financial planning process is founded on an idea that I call P.A.I.L.

“P” stands for protection.  I help my clients insure their most valuable asset; their ability to earn an income.  We help insure against what can go wrong so we have the luxury of investing for what can go right.  We work with people on their life, disability and long term care insurance.

“A” stands for accumulate. Through tax-efficient strategies, I can help my clients plan for their financial future, including preparing retirement plans for individuals and small businesses and education planning strategies such as 529 plans.

“I” stands for inflation adjusted retirement income, meaning that I work with my clients closely along their retirement journey to create plans that will grow with them over the years. We use our professional knowledge to help create generational wealth that will sustain throughout decades.

Lastly, “L” stands for legacy. We believe in helping clients leave a legacy for their loved ones by participating in long-term investments that will continue to prosper over the years. We work with our clients to create a financial plan that is right for them and their family.

Will financial planning tell me how much I need to save?

It should. For example, you may have the best intentions when you squirrel away $400 of every paycheck into your employer’s 401(k) plan. But careful planning may uncover that you only need to set aside $300 and that extra $100 can be put to better use toward your other goals.

Will financial planning tell me when I can retire?

Retirement should be looked at as just one of your goals in a financial plan. You may have other goals like taking vacations every year or buying a second home or funding a college education. Retirement planning involves determining your vision for what you want to be doing in retirement, examining how much you will need to maintain the lifestyle you’re seeking, and structuring what you do now and in the future to create an income that will help you realize that dream.

Is financial planning just showing me how much I need to save and invest?

While your income, investments, and savings play a big part in crafting an effective plan, there are other things that impact your financial situation. Your plan should include a thoughtful account of the things you want to see protected. Protection planning involves looking at suitable insurance protections for life, businesses, disability income, and long-term care.

Additionally, you may want to leave a legacy for your loved ones or an organization in whose cause you strongly believe. Estate or legacy planning boils down to you clearly articulating how you want things to look once you’re gone. And, for many, this part of the plan can be the link that ties together all the other important facets of planning.

What materials do I need for my plan to be as comprehensive as possible?

The rule of thumb is, anything you think might be relevant to your situation. Oftentimes, people leave out key pieces of information that can impact a plan (“Oh, did I mention my husband gets a large inheritance when he turns 45?”).

Standard materials you should supply to your financial planner include:

  1. Current statements of your financial assets, including savings, checking, and brokerage accounts, 401(k), IRA, and pension statements.
  2. Current statements of your liabilities, typically loan statements, like mortgage, home equity, car, and student loan statements.
  3. Your income information, ideally, two recent paycheck stubs but, depending on your employment status, can also include specific tax return schedules and employee benefits handbooks, or business-ownership details.
  4. Your insurance policies, including life, disability, long-term care, medical, auto, and home.
  5. Your most recent tax documents, including W-2s and 1099s, your federal return, and any state or city returns.
  6. Estate documents like wills, trusts, titles and deeds, and health care directives.

If you’d like to learn more about the value a good financial plan can have for your future, give me a call at (505) 369-1224 or email me at kbrown@gfainvestments.com and I can answer your questions unique to your particular situation.

About Kevin Brown

Kevin Brown is an independent financial advisor serving individuals and families in New Mexico. It is his goal to give unbiased recommendations and impartial guidance based on every client’s individual and unique needs and goals. Kevin enjoys helping people to feel confident in their financial future by developing a plan to help insure against what can go wrong so they can enjoy the luxury of investing for what can go right! Call his office today at (505) 369-1224 or email kbrown@gfainvestments.com

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