Create a financial plan to get and keep your finances on track

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October 4th through 10th is National Financial Planning Week. Now is a great time to ask yourself some key financial questions. Do you picture yourself owning a home, starting a business, or retiring comfortably? These are a few of the financial goals that may be important to you, and each comes with a price tag attached.

That’s where financial planning comes in. Financial planning is a process that can help you reach your goals by evaluating your whole financial picture, then outlining strategies that are tailored to your individual needs and available resources.

Why is financial planning important?
A comprehensive financial plan serves as a framework for organizing the pieces of your financial picture, making you better able to focus on your goals and understand what it will take to reach them.

The process
Creating and implementing a comprehensive financial plan generally involves working with financial professionals to:

  • Develop a clear picture of your current financial situation by reviewing your income, assets, and liabilities, and evaluating your insurance coverage, investment portfolio, tax exposure, and estate plan
  • Establish and prioritize financial goals and time frames for achieving these goals
  • Implement strategies that address your current financial weaknesses and build on your financial strengths
  • Choose specific products and services that are tailored to meet your financial objectives
  • Monitor your plan, making adjustments as your goals, time frames, or circumstances change

Key players
Financial planners typically play a central role in the process, focusing on your overall financial plan, and often coordinating the activities of other professionals who have expertise in specific areas.

Accountants or tax attorneys provide advice on federal and state tax issues.

Estate planning attorneys help you plan your estate and give advice on transferring and managing your assets before and after your death.

Insurance professionals evaluate insurance needs and recommend appropriate products and strategies.

Investment advisors provide advice about investment options and asset allocation, and can help you plan a strategy to manage your investment portfolio.

The most important member of the team, however, is you. Your needs and objectives drive the team, and once you’ve carefully considered any recommendations, all decisions lie in your hands.

Staying on track
The financial planning process doesn’t end once your initial plan has been created. Your plan should generally be reviewed at least once a year to ensure it’s up-to-date. It’s also possible that you’ll need to modify your plan due to changes in your personal circumstances or the economy.

Can I still control my own finances?
Financial planning professionals make recommendations, not decisions. You retain control over your finances. Recommendations will be based on your needs, values, goals, and time frames. You decide which recommendations to follow and work with a financial professional to implement them.

 Prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. Copyright 2016.

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