What is Financial Planning?

Written by: Mike Valles

What is financial planning? Having a financial goal of some kind and then creating a plan to enable you to accomplish it is what financial planning is all about. It can include saving money for a home, for an education, or for opening a business. Financial planners provide guidance as to the methods and tools available that will best help you manage your money and assets to enable you to reach your goals.

Everyone’s Financial Goals Are Different

Although most people have the basic plan of saving for retirement, there is so much else that is different between two people in the way of financial goals. What will work for one person may not at all be a good idea for someone else. In some cases, sitting down to make a sound financial plan may also help to provide a reality check – if the financial dreams of the future just are not reasonable.

Determining what your financial goals are must come first. Once you have that, then you can begin to make your plans as to how you will reach them – and when.

Understanding the Available Tools

There really are two ways to go about financial planning. The first way is to do it yourself. This could be good for people who are knowledgeable about finances and the various tools that are on the market to save money, reduce taxes, build wealth, protect their money, and pass it on to the next generation. By consulting an expert, says Investopedia.com, you will also be able to determine if your planned investments and assets will provide the desired asset growth you need to achieve your goals.

Thorough Research Is Essential

FinancialPlanningDays.org mentions that if you do it yourself, that you will need to start by gathering financial information from many sources. Once you have that, it will take considerable amount of study to determine where and how to invest for the best returns on your money.

Watching Your Investments Is Critical

On occasion, one type of stock or fund may go sour, and changes will need to be made quickly – or a considerable amount of money could be lost. Of course, this depends on your risk level, which a financial planner can take into account, as well as giving you a balanced portfolio to help avoid losses.

Some financial planning companies will manage your investments for you – for an extra price. This could be an excellent way to reach your goals if you do not have a lot of time to watch it yourself.

Use a Financial Planner

A second way to reach your financial goals is to hire a licensed and experienced financial planner. Financial planning services are also available to provide counsel from experts who deal with the markets and various investment companies every day. Their advice could prove invaluable and enable you to avoid some serious mistakes.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) advises that you know exactly what type of services the financial planning company will provide before you start working with them. Some of these companies only offer a narrow range or products, which may not be in your best interest or meet your needs.


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