When I was young, I remember when my parents were searching for their first mini van. My older sisters and I needed our own space, and my parents needed more harmony from the back seat!
I often tell my clients that financial planning is rather like choosing a car—the biggest factor is your personal goals! When you consider which car is best for you, you might look for one that has room enough for your loved ones, one that’s safe and comfortable, one with the range to get you to your destination. Some cars are prized for their reliability, and others for how much fun they are.
And to get the most out of a car or a financial plan, it’s best to start with expert advice and keep it tuned up and running smoothly.
When you know your goal for your finances, you and a financial planner can consider all the essential components to build into your plan for the long haul. You might have big dreams of retiring to travel the world, or perhaps you’re more concerned about security and reliability. Whatever the case, a good financial plan needs to address three essential areas in order to build the life you want:
Only you can decide what your goals are, and what you want to achieve with the resources you’ve earned—but how will you put together your overall plan for saving and spending? How will you achieve your lifelong goals? The best way to ensure this all goes smoothly is to have an expert on your side.
I go through a process with my clients that involves three steps to creating a sustainable plan:
- Define your goals—you have to know what your destination is!
- Make accurate assumptions—you don't want to run out of fuel.
- Thoughtfully consider tradeoffs necessary to reach your goals.
Financial planners study and learn about all the moving parts you’ll need to consider as you plan for your future. Not only are there a lot of factors that can change with markets, investments, and tax laws, your plan will likely have multiple income sources! I always use a lens of tax-efficiency when determining the best way for clients to use their resources and achieve their big picture goals.
Beyond our personal goals, we all desire to have an impact on our family, friends, and community. Now is the best time to define what this legacy looks like!
Many people believe that creating an estate plan is primarily to protect your financial assets and take care of your family after your death—and that’s an important piece of the puzzle. But there are some other important goals you can accomplish through your estate plan:
- Direct your assets to the individuals or charities you wish to leave them to.
- Building your legacy right now by being involved with your loved ones and charities.
- Using your financial resources to help you instill values, beliefs, and practices in the next generation.
A strategy to grow your savings is the final step to meet the needs of your financial plan. This is the part of the plan where a reliable financial planner can help you keep your plan tuned up and running smoothly. They will help you create a sustainable investment plan using the tools in their toolbox, including:
- Investing in stocks and bonds—still the best way to grow your savings and keep up with inflation.
- Determining your “retirement paycheck,” the amount you’ll withdraw that fits your life and goals.
- Reviewing your plan regularly to make sure it’s still appropriate for your financial plan.
Making a good plan into a Grand plan
Recently a client came into my office who wanted to improve their retirement plan. The two of us together were able to make a big difference just by fine tuning these important areas!
The vital first step was to listen to their goals for the next chapter of their life and what was most important to them to accomplish with their money. Their custom plan gives them more than just a rate of return—it gives them confidence to enjoy the wealth they have created, spend more on travel, and give more to causes that are important to them.
Be prepared for the road ahead! When you put your goals together with a financial planner’s eye for the future, you can do more for yourself, your family, and your community.
The opinions expressed herein are those of Grand Wealth Management and are subject to change without notice. This material is not financial advice or an offer to sell any product. Grand Wealth Management is an investment adviser registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. More information about Grand Wealth Management's investment advisory services can be found in its Form ADV Part 2, which is located below.
Grand Wealth Management, LLC
333 Bridge Street NW, Suite 800
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
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