Financial Planning Isn't Just for the Wealthy – It’s for Everyone
According to a recent study by the financial services research firm Hearts & Wallets: “Investor sentiment is now at the highest level in a decade! Overall, people feel more positive about their finances despite concerns over inflation, the U.S. deficit and taxes. There is a renewed focus on investment goals, an increased interest in paying for professional financial advice and knowing which asset managers are managing their money.”
Unfortunately, there's a belief that comprehensive financial planning is only for the rich. The truth of the matter is financial planning helps lead you to the ultimate journey of building wealth. It doesn’t matter when you start or how much money you have. All that matters is that you get to those final goals.
The aim of financial planning is to help people:
- Plan to uncover your most important goals and offer the most appropriate strategies.
- Accumulate money systematically and consistently by paying yourself first and increasing over time.
- Grow your wealth over time through effective investment management with ongoing monitoring of investments to prepare for an enjoyable retirement, hopefully living the life you want by making wise choices today to help grow and preserve your money for tomorrow.
- Preserve wealth to help you address even during the most turbulent of times in life. Prepare for gaps in strategy. Plan for unexpected life events and expenses and “what if scenarios” and those unexpected bumps in the road by taking proactive steps. Also share your desires for transferring and preserving your wealth to leave a legacy to the next generation and for charitable interest.
- Discover how your money supports your goals and values.
- Manage cash flow/budgeting to gain greater confidence and reduce money anxiety.
- Develop a strategy to pay off credit card debt and loans.
- Build a diversified and low expense investment portfolio to align with your financial goals.
- Supply a better understanding of your employee benefits
- Create a saving and investment strategy to help pay for college for your children or grands.
- Social Security strategizing
- Charitable giving and guidance
- And so much more
There are several ways Financial Advisors can charge for these services. Some charge by the hour ($200-$500/hour), others charge a flat fee ($3,500 and up depending upon complexity) while others may charge a combination of percentage of total client assets under management fee and retainer fee for ongoing financial planning. The more assets you have, the lower the fee.
Good financial planning is not a one-time service but a living, ongoing and dynamic plan that changes with you and your circumstances.
Some people may not be ready or are not able to focus on a comprehensive financial plan but may need focused financial advice in certain areas of their financial situation. Some Financial Advisors work on focused planning but may have a minimum number of hours as a minimum to begin the work.
For those who may think even the hourly or flat fee is too much, there are programs out there that offer group financial planning or individual courses. Rich people should not be the only ones that benefit from financial planning. It should be a resource for everyone.
According to Hearts and Wallets, “…planners save and invest more, find fewer financial tasks challenging, have more diversified and appropriately allocated portfolios, and are more confident in their financial situation. And people with written plans are in the best shape of all. More than 80% of consumers think about their financial goals and planning, however, only half actually develop a plan!”
Take the time and explore the features and benefits of establishing a financial plan for you and your family. Your future self will be happy that you did.
Kathy Williams is President of Advance Financial Lighthouse and a Family Wealth Manager in Oklahoma City, Ok www.financiallighthouse.net