How do you feel when someone asks you about your financial plan?
Do you cringe? Break into a cold sweat? Feel like you don’t have enough money to even think about financial planning? Ask for the next question, please?
Or are you tingling with excitement, prepared to give someone a high-five? Are you prepared to brag about how close you are to meeting that next goal because, according to your plan, you’re only two payments away from paying off that debt you’ve been carrying around for several years?
Financial planning can mean different things to different people as it relates to their individual circumstances. But financial planning has a fundamental core. According to the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc., Financial Planning is a collaborative process that helps maximize a client’s potential for meeting life goals through financial advice that integrates relevant elements of the client’s personal and financial circumstances (www.cfp.net/ethics/code-of-ethics-and-standards-of-conduct).
While the entire sentence is important, the idea of a collaborative process is key.
When you meet with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM, it is important to engage in a dialogue and explore, in relation to your life goals, where you are, where you want to be and how you want to get there.
Financial planning can seem daunting because there are many factors to consider (collecting statements, tax information, and other relevant items), but these factors are the facts needed to understand your situation. The facts come to life when you talk through what is important to you.
Considering what is important to you, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM looks at the facts. She then analyzes, develops, and recommends possible solutions available to you. You should talk through what is shared with you: Are the recommendations practical? Do they make sense for you and your lifestyle? Are these impossible ideas that look good on paper? Would you like to explore these ideas further and understand them better?
When you work with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM, you should know that she is looking for information to fill out this equation: Assets – Liabilities = Net Worth
Try this out:
Assets are items that you own like cash in the bank, your home, and your car. Write out how much the items are worth if you sell them today. (Cash would be worth exactly what it is in the bank but the values of your home and car fluctuate according to market conditions.) Total up the values of those items.
Liabilities are debts that you owe like your student loans, credit cards, car, and mortgage. What are your debt payoff amounts? Write down your total.
Finally, take your liability total and subtract it from your asset total. The result is your net worth.
Although you did the exercise by hand, there are tech resources available like spreadsheets that integrate data from your bank; the app your bank offers to help you track your balance and spending habits; and/or independent personal finance apps. Take your time and research whether and/or which app is right for you.
Resources are available and you are just getting started.
Wendolyn Forbes is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™. For more information about Wendolyn’s financial services practice, please visit her website at www.wtf-asn.com. For more information about the CFP Board, please visit www.letsmakeaplan.org.
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.
This material is provided as a courtesy and for educational purposes only. Please consult your investment professional, legal or tax advisor for specific information pertaining to your situation.
Originally published in the November 2021 issue of Positively Haywood by Vicinitus. https://www.vicinitus.com