A financial plan is not merely a set of numbers and projections. It is a document of your life, your goals for the future, and what matters to you. Although most people have goals and hopes for their future, relatively few take the time required to put together a plan that will show them what they need to achieve them, or alert them to potential risks lurking along the way. Owning a home, passing on a family business, being able to afford to travel or to stay in place in retirement… without taking action and following a plan, there is no way to know if or how these goals can be reached.
Many people are able to plan for and achieve some financial goals on their own. Those who have bought homes or saved for a college education know the discipline, forethought, and research that can be required just to meet a single objective. Planning for one’s entire life and its legacy requires a high degree of specialized knowledge and, often, the objectivity of an expert who can help you decide what matters most to you and how much you can achieve with the resources you have.
As a 360° picture, a full financial plan looks at your current budget, your future needs, and at what you will leave behind. It can determine if you are saving enough to meet your goals and whether you are saving into the right type of accounts to meet your needs. Proper planning can reduce your tax liability now or in the future for you and your heirs. It can uncover hidden risks, such as legal liability or a long-term disability, and determine whether you have adequate insurance to protect yourself against them.
Without a plan, you are moving forward blindly into the future without knowing if your actions today are sufficient to meet your goals tomorrow. Meeting with an experienced financial planner can make sure that your actions now are part of a larger strategy. Knowing where you are currently and where you are headed can not only give you a sense of security that you are on the right track today, but satisfaction in the future when you have achieved your goals. Without a financial plan that can be implemented, your goals are only wishes or dreams.
If you are getting close to retirement age you may have heard of social security claiming strategies such as “file and suspend” or a “restricted application.” You may have also seen in the news that the November 2015 bipartisan budget deal made some changes to the social security system. While none of these changes will affect benefits that have already been claimed, those who are not yet retired may see a change in how they are able to receive benefits due to recent changes made by Congress. [Read complete article.]
Talking with heirs will help them understand their motivations behind the wealth-transfer plan, assist them in increasing their own financial acumen, and define the roles the heirs are willing to assume long before they are tasked with settling the estate. Our speakes explain different ways to approach these conversations. [Watch video]
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