The short answer is “no.” Similar questions that elicit the same answer include: Do your children and/or grandchildren need to go to college? Do you really have to watch what you eat? Do you have to wear your seatbelt? What is left out from all these answers is the extending caveat: “But your odds of having a successful outcome increase significantly if you do.”
Like going to college, paying attention to what you eat and wearing your seatbelt, having a financial plan can give you a substantial leg up if you are interested in long-term rewards. We’ve had clients tell us their “plan” is to save as much and spend as little as they can. That’s a fine philosophy and a nice start to actually making a plan, but it is not a plan.
Here are five things a financial plan will help you do:
- Help you understand your goals.
Sure, most people want to retire someday, maybe travel a bit and be able to help the kids/grandkids out in a pinch or with college expenses. But if you spend a little bit of time now and decide what is truly important to you, you will learn more about yourself and be far more likely to actually reach your goal.
- Help you prepare for unplanned events.
While you may know the terms of your company’s stock option plan, there are other events in life that are less scheduled and should be considered when planning your financial future. We call them “transition events” – the often not so fun life events that may need to be budgeted in (ex. divorce, death in the family, new job, relocation for work). Protect your net worth and your family and create a plan that looks at the whole picture, not just the rainbows and travel.
- Give you a reality check.
Nearly everyone would like to know if their money is going to last during their golden years and, if not, what they can do about it. It may be uncomfortable to realize that the odds of your money outlasting your retirement needs are not in your favor, but wouldn’t it be better to make proactive changes now than to face this problem later? As they say, knowledge is power. Or maybe your income level is sufficient to reach your goals but after reviewing a true financial plan you realize you can reach your goal sooner.
- Help you decide how you want to invest your money.
Your asset allocation choice (the proportion of your investment that is in stocks, bonds, real estate, natural resources, alternative investments or cash) is a vital factor in determining your financial future. How far you have to go, how much time you have to get there and how much you will need during the journey should all be considered when making investment choices today.
- Help with handling your estate.
The majority of us have in mind some individuals or charity to whom we would like to pass on our accumulated wealth. A financial plan can help make this as tax efficient as possible, leaving your heirs or charity with as large a portion of the assets as possible through the use of wills, trusts and/or insurance policies.
There are many more reasons to consider a financial plan than we can list here. Osborne Partners has a dedicated team of Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) professionals on staff that can spend time getting to know you, your concerns, and goals. They will sit down with you and create a customized plan specific to you and your family that can actively be reviewed for years to come as life events occur. The length and depth of the financial plan can be customized to your needs and is included in your management fee.
In general, people who know what they have and how they plan to use it do better than those who don’t know both or either. You have worked hard to accumulate what you have. Take the extra step and plan for your future today. You will be happy you did.
Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and federally registered CFP (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.