A comprehensive financial plan encompasses a person's financial needs and life goals, as they pass through different stages of maturity. It seeks to assist in; protection, accumulation, distribution and the ultimate disposition of financial assets. Where you are in life, determines what are your most important planning needs. Although a full financial plan attempts to address all of a person's needs and goals when developed. It is by no means static. Life events occur that require plans to be altered. A well-developed plan seeks to address these events, so they do not have catastrophic results.
Generally, this means insurance. Any plan should start with an understanding of potential risks. Disability, long-term care and premature death can and should be insured against. But, what of a steep decline in the stock market or loss of your job? Is your portfolio properly diversified and is your emergency fund adequate?
Here, a plan addresses goals that need to be funded. Education for children or perhaps grandchildren. There are various ways to fund education, 529 Plans, Coverdell IRA's, gifts to minors or perhaps some type of employment for the child, in your business. Retirement, the first question is: What does it mean to you? Maybe, just working less hours, or not working at all. Could extensive travel or recreation be in your future? These are just three alternatives which would of course require different amounts of funding. How are these needs to be funded? There are a multitude of options available. Planning assists in the designing of a retirement plan and determining how much money will be needed.
Now you're considering living on your accumulated wealth. Which assets should be withdrawn from first, retirement or non-retirement? What investment alternatives are available to preserve your income requirements? How much could be withdrawn from your funds annually and not deplete your accounts? Proper planning answers these questions.
Most commonly referred to as Estate Planning. Although, clients generally think of estate planning as estate tax minimizing, there are very often many other needs to be addressed. How are your assets to be distributed and how will this be accomplished?How will a spouse afford to live? How can I provide for an heir with special needs? As only one of my children is involved in my business, how can I equalize my estate? How are assets owned and are they properly titled? Are there any needs for trusts, and if so, what type of trusts?
What I have attempted, by the above is to educate you and to evoke thought of what is involved in a financial plan. Any plan, whether comprehensive or not, should consider all alternatives and options. A website may not convince an observer to act, but my hope is, if you are serious about planning, you will call me to become more acquainted with my services.