A new year often means a fresh look at things in your life; resolutions, health, family, financial matters.
Have you taken your financial matters into consideration for 2014? Have you made a financial New Years resolution? It can be hard to make a specific resolution if you don’t know where to start. The financial world is filled with many opportunites and avenues.
My advice would be to take it one step at a time. Why not start with a financial plan for beginners? Financial plans can range from simple to complex and don’t let the complexities scare you. You can always start simple and add some complexities as you are ready for them.
A simple first step is to contact a financial planner to discuss the creation of a financial plan. As the old saying goes, “People don’t usually plan to fail, they failed to plan.” It seems financial plans are often one of those things we’re going to ‘get around to one of these days.’
If you decide to seek a financial professional to build you a financial plan what does that look like? Well, there are as many different plans as there are people, but here are some of the basics.
First of all, you would participate in a survey or fact find with your advisor so they can ask as many relevant questions as possible that may pertain to your situation. These questions will cover; your current income and occupation plans, your family income, dependents, household and living expenses, any assets or investments, pensions and benefits from your employer, liabilities you need to pay off and your time frames for these, etc.
They will ask you about what your goals are for retirement, children’s education, and saving for a home, just to name a few.
You will complete a profile to help your advisor identify your risk tolerance and the type of investment style that would best suit you.
Once all of this information is collected, the advisor will enter all of your information into a financial planning software, and apply variables consistent with your wishes and goals. These software programs can calculate many things as well as help identify gaps and opportunities.
Financial planners will apply their knowledge and expertise to these outputs and be able to create a simplified plan to get started with. You can start with the basics and build on it over the years and add complexities as they are needed.
Financial plans aren’t just for the wealthy. Everyone can benefit from a planning approach to suit their needs. By getting a financial plan started, at whatever stage you are at, you can have some peace of mind you are taking steps in the right direction.
A plan is fundamental. Afterall, how can you figure out where you are, if you don’t know where you are going?
Stephanie Farrow, B.A., CFP., Stephanie has over 20 years experience in the financial services industry, a diploma in Financial Planning from the Canadian Institute of Financial Planning, and Certified Financial Planner designation. Stephanie has been writing a financial planning column for the local business magazine Elgin This Month since 2010 and hosts our Farrow Financial Blog and Twitter @farrowfinancial. Stephanie and her husband Ken Farrow own Farrow Financial Services Inc., are busy raising three young children and actively involved in the community. Our Farrow Financial Services Team.