Why You Need a Financial Plan

Article

It’s not uncommon for high-net-worth individuals to have a lot of money and no plan on how to use it. You may have a large cash reserve in the bank, multiple investment strategies and the peace-of-mind that comes from knowing you are financially secure, but a financial plan can shape the trajectory of where you go. Financial planning provides a comprehensive view of your entire financial picture and outlines strategies that are tailored to help you target and reach your goals based on your individual needs and resources.

Whether you are thinking about selling a business, leaving a legacy (to your family or to a charity), paying for your children’s or grandchildren’s education, buying a vacation home, taking care of elderly parents or receiving an inheritance, financial planning can help you along the way.

Why Having a Financial Plan is Important

A comprehensive financial plan serves as a framework for organizing the pieces of your financial picture. With a financial plan in place, you'll be better able to focus on your goals and understand what it will take to reach them.

One of the main benefits of having a financial plan is that it can help you balance competing financial priorities. A financial plan will clearly show you how your financial goals are related — for example, whether buying a vacation home is feasible given your retirement timeline. Then you can use the information you've gleaned to decide how to prioritize your goals and implement specific strategies.

The Financial Planning Process

Creating and implementing a comprehensive financial plan generally involves working with financial professionals to:

  • Develop a clear picture of your current financial situation by reviewing your income, assets and liabilities, and evaluating your insurance coverage, your investment portfolio, your tax exposure and your estate plan.
  • Establish and prioritize financial goals and time frames for achieving these goals.
  • Implement strategies that address your current financial weaknesses and build on your financial strengths.
  • Monitor your plan, making adjustments as your goals, time frames or circumstances change.

The Financial Planning Team

The financial planning process can involve a number of Eide Bailly and other professionals per your approval.

  • Financial planners typically play a central role in the process, focusing on your overall financial plan, and often coordinating the activities of other professionals who have expertise in specific areas.
  • Accountants or tax attorneys provide advice on federal and state tax issues.
  • Estate planning attorneys help you plan your estate and give advice on transferring and managing your assets before and after your death.
  • Insurance professionals evaluate insurance needs and recommend appropriate products and strategies.
  • Investment advisors provide advice about investment options and asset allocation and can help you plan a strategy to manage your investment portfolio.

The most important member of the team, however, is you. Your needs and objectives drive the team, and once you've carefully considered any recommendations, all decisions are in your hands.

Why Can’t I Do it Myself?

You can, if you have enough time and knowledge, but developing a comprehensive financial plan may require expertise in several areas. Simply stated, you just don’t know what you don’t know. You may be a seasoned investor, but are you also well versed in estate law, tax code and insurance? A financial professional can give you objective information and help you weigh your alternatives, saving you time and ensuring that all angles of your financial picture are covered.

Having a Financial Plan that Grows with You

The financial planning process doesn't end once your initial plan has been created. Your plan should generally be reviewed at least once a year to make sure that it's up to date. It's also possible that you'll need to modify your plan due to changes in your personal circumstances or the economy.

Here are some of the events that might trigger a review of your financial plan:

  • Your goals or time horizons change
  • You experience a life-changing event such as marriage, health problems or a job change
  • You have a specific or immediate financial planning need (e.g., drafting a will, managing a distribution from a retirement account, paying long-term care expenses, receiving an inheritance)
  • Your income or expenses substantially increase or decrease
  • Your portfolio hasn't performed as expected
  • You're affected by changes to tax laws
  • Market volatility

What Does a Financial Plan Look Like?

The right plan can help you see the present and imagine the future. Our interactive, online dashboard allows you to see your full financial picture. Through a single access point, you can integrate all your accounts on one platform for real-time monitoring. With this, you’ll have the capability to review your investments, pull reports and securely store documents. Analysis from our team of professionals will help you create a unified financial plan to position yourself for future success.

Are you ready to see what your financial plan could look like?

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