What is Financial Planning?
By: Duane J. Silbernagel
The short answer: financial planning is what you make of it.
It’s the beginning of the New Year! Have you ever joined a gym with the complete intent that this will be the year you dedicate and commit to changing your physical condition? Come April, you’re considering closing the bank account – that automated membership dues are paid from – because you don’t want to face that personal trainer.
Financial planning requires a true commitment.
A comprehensive financial plan should cover many aspects of your life. Think of everything you spend money on. Overwhelmed? Food, housing, taxes, insurance, savings, car payments, child care, etc… the list may seem endless. Financial planning can help organize the numerous pieces of your overall financial picture and allow you to look into the future, to see the potential results of decisions you make today.
Like joining the gym, a financial plan is only as good as the implementation and follow-through (which is exactly why you’re sheepish about canceling the membership in person). A financial professional should be there not only to give you guidance and keep you on track, but, to also hold you accountable.
One benefit to a financial plan is to help you prioritize every goal you have. We all have dreams. The real question is: how do we reach those? It can be delicate balancing act, which requires all parties to look at in great detail. Financial professionals are trained to assist you in this aspect of the plan, but can only make recommendations. The final decision is still on you.
How do you select a financial professional? Do your due diligence by asking questions!
Why did the financial professional start in the industry?
What is their background in?
Who taught that individual about money?
The end result of a financial plan is a document that you keep. These can be incredibly powerful. Financial plans can contain a large amount of information you may not be aware of: bank account registrations and numbers, retirement accounts, insurance policies. If you’ve ever dealt in settling an estate, imagine how helpful something like this could be.
We all plan to some extent, consciously or unconsciously. We plan our time: hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly. Some tasks are tracked consciously by keeping a day planner. Others are unconscious; you probably do not have your “morning routine” written down.
The wealthiest people on the planet started with $0.00 at some point.
The “trick” is to start!
This article is meant to be general in nature and should not be construed as investment or financial advice related to your personal situation. Waddell & Reed offers comprehensive financial planning services in its capacity as a registered investment adviser. You should contact your financial advisor or refer to the Waddell & Reed, Inc. Form ADV or Financial Planning Advisory Services Brochure for a complete discussion of these services and the fees associated with them. Please consult your financial advisor prior to making financial decisions. Duane Silbernagel is a Financial Advisor with Waddell & Reed and can be reached at (541) 614-1322. Waddell & Reed, Inc., Member SIPC