By Christopher Sassone, CFP®, CLTC®
If you’re reading this, you are likely no stranger to the practice of saving and investing for the long term. Congratulations – you are among a minority of Americans who have made it a priority to carve out a portion of their income to build a nest egg for whatever the future might hold.
The next step, and one that’s often overlooked, is to clarify your financial goals. Then, revisit those goals regularly so you can adapt them to changing circumstances – in your life, in your business, and in the market.
Whether you are a business owner, an executive or a practicing professional, the challenges of daily work and life take up a lot of bandwidth. It can be tempting to put your saving and investing on autopilot and defer more thoughtful planning to a point in the future “when you have more time.”
Still, there’s peace of mind to be gained when you take on the exercise of planning sooner rather than later. At Davie Kaplan, we’re planners by nature – here’s our perspective on how a good financial plan can help you reach your financial goals.
The Planning Process Involves Articulating Clear Objectives
It’s all well and good to divert a healthy percentage of your income to savings, and even better to set things up so it happens automatically. But have you looked at how those savings are likely to compound, and how long it will take to reach a certain number? And how do you know what the right number is?
An objective financial plan is the product of many questions explored. How long do you expect to work in your current capacity? What are your most pressing financial – and non-financial – concerns today? What would you like to be doing in five, ten or even fifteen years … and what would it take to get you there? And – who are the most important people in your life, and do you have a desire to include them in this process?
Without a plan, you are working towards your long-term goals based only on a gut feel. With a strategy and a plan to carry it forward, you greatly increase your chances of a successful outcome.
There are no right or wrong answers – the value comes out of the process. When you have a clear idea, at least for now, of where you want to end up in terms of your retirement and financial legacy, you’ll gain meaningful direction for savings goals and a framework for investment decisions.
No Plan is “One and Done”
As we all know, life circumstances can evolve in unexpected ways, and sometimes quickly. Career tracks shift, families expand, needs change, opportunities arise.
For example, Davie Kaplan works with many individuals who’ve stepped off the corporate track to start a business; the entrepreneurial journey calls for a new financial strategy. And down the road, when a founder’s exit creates a liquidity event, it becomes even more important to plan for tax implications and asset protection.
The Beauty of a Custom Financial Plan
Many investors thrive on managing their portfolios themselves; they may or may not seek advice from an advisor at the investment firm where they place their money. Others feel that they’re “small potatoes” – their assets are below the threshold that would justify the need for professional advice.
It’s important to make the distinction between guidance you receive from an investment firm, which should reflect your risk tolerance and realistic goals for returns, and the bigger picture you’ll see with a custom financial plan.
When you engage with an experienced, credentialed financial professional to develop a custom financial plan, you gain insight about your money – and also about actual progress toward all of your goals so you can make decisions to better support those goals over the long term.
Yes, there’s a cost associated with such a plan. That cost comes with assurance that you’re receiving transparent advice without any agenda. A good plan will also help you minimize your tax exposure and anticipate future needs, such as:
- How to balance retirement account savings with after-tax savings to manage the tax impact of distributions during retirement.
- How to maintain a cash reserve so you can comfortably weather a market downturn.
- How to provide tax-smart gifts to children and grandchildren to support education and other needs.
Create a Roadmap to Reach Your Financial Goals
Davie Kaplan can help – we’ll ask the right questions to understand where you want to go, and help you anticipate and adapt your roadmap for changing life circumstances. Our expert team of CPAs and financial advisors has been serving families and businesses in the Rochester, NY area since 1934. We offer deep, industry-specific experience and a local touch, and we’re equipped to help clients of all sizes.
Contact us here or call (585) 454-4161 to schedule a no-obligation consultation.