Make the Most of National Financial Planning Month

October is National Financial Planning Month, a time to reflect on your strategy for today’s financial goals, as well as tomorrow’s. Whether you’re just getting started or reviewing and updating a plan put into place years ago, Blue Heron Financial Group hopes you will consider the following when thinking about your financial roadmap. 

“Most people don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan.” John J. Beckley

Many people spend more time planning for a vacation than they do retirement, even though the cost and length of retirement will be far greater than any trip they will ever take. According to the 2017 Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS), just 4 in 10 workers report they and/or their spouse have ever tried to calculate the cost of living comfortably in retirement.

Maybe you've been telling yourself there is still time and you'll plan for your financial future later, or perhaps you've been putting it off so long you feel there is no point in starting now. Remember, it’s never too early or too late to start planning. Studies show writing down goals makes people 42% more likely to achieve them, so make this month the time you hunker down and create your financial freedom strategy.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t forget to start at the beginning. The first step in creating your plan is assessing your current picture. List expenses, income, current savings, insurance, employer benefits, and debt, along with your objectives for the future. If you want to make sure all your bases are covered, consider seeking the advice of a financial professional to evaluate and guide you through your game plan.

“Effective planning must be about more than financial security. The new face of retirement planning must go beyond money, and adopt an integrated and holistic approach to helping people prepare to live longer and well.” —Dr. Joe Coughlin, MIT AgeLab

If you do seek the guidance of a financial advisor, be sure they are asking the right questions. If their only question is "how much money do you have to invest?" that should be your cue to move on.  It is imperative your advisor understands your individual needs and goals as they build your personalized and comprehensive plan. With the groundwork of your plan in place, prudent investments can be determined. 

Will you be relocating in retirement? Would you like to contribute to a grandchild’s college savings? Do you have plans to travel? What will your retirement hobbies be?  If your advisor doesn’t know you, how can they plan for you? 

“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” Alan Lakein

A financial plan is a dynamic blueprint that accounts for life’s changes – whether that’s divorce, marriage, death, a new family addition, or something else. Once your plan’s foundation has been laid, rather than starting from scratch, tweaks can be made as needed.  Financial planning helps you handle the “what ifs” of life with a sound mind, rather than reactive and emotional responses in the midst of (maybe unexpected) change.

For more information about financial planning, please contact our advisors at Blue Heron Financial Group.