No matter where you are in life, a financial plan can be a valuable tool in helping you reach your financial goals. Whether you want to buy a home, save for college for your children or grandchildren, or maintain your desired lifestyle throughout retirement, a financial plan can provide you with a detailed roadmap to meet your goals. Here are some of the many benefits of a financial plan.
Setting and Achieving Goals
A financial plan helps you define and visualize your short-term, medium-term, and long-term financial goals and will help you create a workable strategy to reach those goals. This strategic approach will give you a holistic view of your current financial situation and will present actionable steps to get you from where you are today to where you want to be in the future. By bringing your goals into focus, you will increase the likelihood of reaching those goals. A financial plan will also help you prioritize the goals most important to you and your family.
Improving your Outcome
If you currently are not on track to meet your financial goals, a financial plan will help illustrate the changes you need to make to get where you want to be. You may need to adjust your budget and savings strategy. You may also need to adjust your goals so they are more aligned with the reality of your current financial situation. It is important to balance your current financial needs with your future financial goals. A financial plan can help you accomplish exactly that and can help improve your long-term outcome.
Establishing Multiple Scenarios
An important benefit of a financial plan is the ability to create and stress test multiple scenarios. Once you decide on the goals you want to focus on in your plan’s base scenario, you can run additional scenarios to either stress test that scenario or explore the feasibility of additional goals. If your plan suggests retiring at age 65 is attainable, you may want to look at what retiring at age 60 looks like. Maybe you want to see what your plan will look like if long-term inflation is higher than expected or if the return on your investments is lower than what you had planned for. What will your plan look like if expenses are higher or lower than expected? How will an unexpected job loss, an unplanned long-term care need or a premature death of a spouse impact the success of your plan? Running multiple scenarios can help you answer these and many other important questions that will invariably come up as you plan for the future.
Monitoring your Progress
Once your initial plan is complete, you should revisit it periodically. Monitoring your progress will not only help ensure your plan remains on track, but it will also let you know if you need to make changes to increase your chance of success. Your goals and your financial situation may change over time, so regular updates will also allow you to adjust your plan as needed. If significant time has passed since your last financial plan was completed, review the plan and see if it still applies to your situation and reflects your goals. If it does not, it is time for an update. Achieving your financial goals will be a continuous work in progress and will take commitment over many years. Constantly reevaluating your plan will not only help you stay on track, it will also supply you with the motivation to keep at it over the long haul.
Gaining Clarity, Confidence and Peace of Mind
A financial plan can provide you with needed clarity and an honest look at where you are from a financial standpoint. This will include taking a close look at your current net worth, budget and current savings strategy among other things. Once you understand your current situation, you will be better able to set realistic expectations to obtain your goals. This will help you build confidence as you plan for the future and will ultimately give you peace of mind in knowing you are taking the appropriate steps to reach your goals.
Authored by Dennis Culver, Insight Wealth Strategies
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Insight Wealth Strategies, LLC (IWS) and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.