For many people, a new year means a New Year’s Resolution. The good news is it’s a time to “resolve” to finally get a financial plan in place. The problem is that many resolutions don’t stick. By February, no matter how determined you were on January 1st to commit, the goal has been abandoned.
At Global View, we know the importance of a comprehensive financial plan. Many clients who come to us for the first time are excited to retire. Unfortunately, they can’t. Their stories are retirement planning horror stories. Sometimes, the horror stories are about bad decisions the clients made. But often it’s due to bad advice.
To start new financial planning trends, we’ve put together a Financial Planning New Year’s resolution checklist. This will help you stick to your plan of getting your finances together this time.
Make an Appointment with a Financial Advisor Now
If you’re truly serious about getting your financial life in order, don’t just write it down as a goal. Do your homework and make an appointment with an independent, fee-only, fiduciary financial advisor today. Results come from actions, not just plans or goals!
Remember, when looking for a financial advisor to hire, there are a few terms you must look for:
- Fiduciary: A fiduciary financial advisor is legally obligated to put the client’s interest first. It’s more than “what’s right” (subjectively, in your opinion) and actually about what’s legally in the client’s best interests (objectively, what’s been legally proven)!
- Fee-only: A fee-only financial advisor is only paid by the client, which means no commissions or kickbacks from any outside organizations. This is the only way to ensure there are no conflicts of interest. Fee-BASED is not enough. Too many advisors are paid by employer incentives and commissions in addition to client fees. Fee-based advisors work with insurance companies and brokerage firms who can pay them commissions and bonuses. Even if these advisors are “on salary,” we have found they are also supplemented by bonuses for meeting certain targets.
- Family-office style services: A financial advisory firm that offers family-office style services (there aren’t many) will have an accountant, an estate attorney and a team of Certified Financial Planners (CFPs) in house who can help you with all of your financial planning needs.
Global View checks all these boxes. Of course, when you set up an initial call, there are no strings attached. It’s important to determine that it’s a good fit for both parties. But making an appointment today will put something on your calendar and encourage you to actually take the first step necessary to creating a comprehensive financial plan that’s right for you.
Understand the Importance of Starting Young
Trying to achieve your financial goals without a plan is like trying to drive across the country with no map or directions. When the market gets confusing, it can be like driving with a blindfold on.
Without a financial plan, you’re more likely to miss your exit or get thrown off course by a detour. And the sooner in your road trip you establish a plan, the less likely you are to head in the wrong direction. We help our clients help their children and grandchildren get off in the right direction.
Early in your career is the best time to be saving and planning for the future. Time is your saving’s greatest ally. The earlier you start saving for retirement, the more time your savings will have to grow.
Likewise, the earlier you start financial planning, the better equipped you’ll be to handle life’s complexities. A financial plan is about preparation: It prepares you financially for whatever life brings. It’s better to have a plan for how you’ll pay for a leak in the roof before the roof starts leaking. Establishing a financial plan early, knowing you’ll revisit it regularly, is the best path to financial security and a comfortable retirement.
Waiting until you’re older to start planning can leave you less time to make up for mistakes and less time to reap the benefits of compound interest. That’s what financial planning is! Don’t think financial planning trends; think long-term goals and success.
A lot changes in your financial life between your 20s and 50s. You go from student and financial dependent to financially independent, working adult, possibly with dependents of your own. As your financial life changes, so do your financial challenges and goals. To make sure you (and your loved ones who depend on you) can overcome these challenges and meet all your goals, it’s important to have a financial plan.
Think About Your Tax Load
Taxes are a recurring hurdle in every financial plan. No matter where you are in life, you should try to minimize the taxes you pay. You can reduce your tax load by decreasing your taxable income or increasing your deductions or tax credits.
In your accumulation years, there are easy ways to reduce your taxable income. Once you’re in retirement, reducing your tax load becomes a bit more complicated. Talking with a professional early on to determine what is best for you can be a huge payoff in the long run.
Watch the Market
It doesn’t take long to realize how complicated the market can be. Recessions and bear markets are a common worry.
Recessions are a fact of life. You will experience many recessions and bear markets while saving for retirement. How a recession affects a portfolio depends on how much risk you are taking in your portfolio. A conservative portfolio heavily weighted toward fixed-income investments like bonds will experience less of an impact than a more stock-oriented portfolio because bonds are lower risk and less volatile. Some stocks can go down less than others during a recession. Some can even do better than during a roaring economy. This is a great reason you need an advisor who understands market fundamentals.
The key to managing a portfolio in a recession is staying diversified. No one can predict when the next recession will come or how long it will last. This means you need to not only know how much downside risk you can bear, but to know how much you should expect! Sadly, few investors understand this. Worse, in their zeal to gather new clients and charge fees and commissions (and get bonuses), the basics, like finding out how you are likely to react during a downturn, are rarely even covered properly by most financial advisors.
How Global View Can Help
From planning for a recession to managing your taxes and sustaining your lifestyle in retirement, financial planning contains a lot of moving parts. This is where a financial advisor comes in.
A trusted financial advisor can help you develop a financial plan that will accommodate all of life’s complexities. An advisor can help you adjust that plan as you progress along your financial journey. Equipped with the most up-to-date information on the markets and various financial strategies, an advisor can help you determine which financial plan is best for you.
Everyone’s financial lives have different moving parts. How you feel about things matters too. The fact is, life is not only complicated, but also busy. There are often dozens of things vying for your time and attention. Monitoring your financial plan doesn’t have to be one of them.
If getting your financial plan in place is one of your goals for 2020 and you’re more serious than simply following the newest financial planning trends, contact us to see how we can help.
Learn how a comprehensive fee-only fiduciary advisor, with a team of experienced professionals, can help you get there.