How a Solid Planning Process Helps You Financially Succeed
We know you’ve heard of the term “trust the process.”, but how does that apply to financial planning? Oftentimes, investors view it is sufficient to adjust a general, high-level strategy on the go as life changes. However, those near retirement might be missing out on investment opportunities or potential tax savings without engaging in deeper planning initiatives.
Having a strategy to guide your financial planning is only the first step. If you aim to safeguard your family’s financial future, get off the train wreck course by building out a comprehensive planning process.
Why You Need a Strategic Planning Process
A process is different from a static strategy. Strategic financial planning is an ongoing process that ensures your actions align with your goals, values, and circumstances so that you can stay on track on your way to financial security and freedom.
Usually, your strategic planning process describes how things should be done with your financial planning, pertaining to investments, your cash-flow in retirement, or preparing a legacy for your heirs or charitable interests.
Think about building a business. Would you rather be skidding around like an uncontrollable vehicle, or would you prefer having solid processes in place on which you administer, market, and build?
Another great example is building a house. Would you hire a construction company if they can’t explain to you how they’re proceeding with the project? Would you believe in empty promises brought by a fancy blueprint without anything tangible?
If you shook your head at any of the above scenarios, then you know why you need a strategic planning process.
Getting Started, Setting Goals
Failing to set goals can lead to disorienting results. Oftentimes, we may not know where to start. Sitting down with a financial advisor can clarify the initial steps to start building a holistic financial plan.
Additionally, setting the correct goals can save you time and money. For example, if your top priority is to become debt-free, your focus should be on budgeting and controlling your cash flow. If you’re hoping to buy a house in the next five years, you need to be saving consistently and monitoring your credit score.
In short, when you’re intentional with what you have, every cent will stretch further, making you more strategic, efficient, and motivated.
Know Your Objectives
So, how should you define your personal goals? To start, ask yourself some critical questions:
- What are your most urgent concerns?
- Can you handle a medical emergency?
- What if you or your partner becomes unemployed?
Next, ask yourself the things you want in life. Are you tired of renting? Is it time for a new car? When do you want to retire?
Posing internal questions often acts as a launching pad for proper planning to achieve any objectives you identify.
Short-term goals are your imminent needs and urgent concerns. Referring to the questions above, setting short-term goals could be paying off credit card debt or saving up a down payment for a house. These can also be milestones or breakdowns of your bigger goals, like your retirement plan.
Again, be reasonable with your short-term financial goals. It’s okay to give yourself some challenges, but overall, your short-term goals should be low-hanging fruit.
On the contrary, long-term goals are where you get ambitious. These goals often focus on retirement planning or legacy building. Identify objectives that will “set you for life”.
These objectives should be equally as specific in nature, but the route to the finish line will inevitably be circuitous. With potentially twenty or thirty years ahead of you, one constant remains life changes. Strike a balance between what motivated you toward these objectives in the first place, while also staying agile and adaptable.
The Overlooked Short-Term Goals and Why They’re Important
While many advisors emphasize long-term financial planning, short-term goals are often overlooked. Short-term goals are often the foundation of your long-term stability. If you don’t clear most of your debt, your long-term savings may not be as effective. If you don’t have enough built up in an emergency fund, you may not feel safe saving up for retirement.
Furthermore, short-term goals can help track your long-term progress. Break your long-term goals down into short-term milestones and see how much more efficient you become. For example, instead of saying you need to accumulate $100,000 for retirement, deciding to contribute $6,000 annually into an IRA is a considerably less intimidating first step.
Implementing Your Strategic Planning Process
Are you ready to build and implement a strategic planning process in the Houston area? Then, write down your concerns, desires, and future plans. Create a list of existing assets and debts to do some simple numbers yourself. It is best to take your time with your planning process.
And, of course, we know building a process can be daunting. So, if you're overwhelmed like many are (as this is not within their scope of training), reach out to a fiduciary financial advisor at Linscomb & Williams.
Things are much easier when you have a professional guiding your way. Reach out today for a complimentary consultation. We look forward to being of service.