5 Benefits of Having a Financial Plan
* This article was originally published on Sept. 19, 2018. It has been updated for 2020.
The holidays have passed, we’re already a couple weeks into the New Year, and we’re smack dab in the middle of another Fort Collins winter. A little “cabin fever” could even be setting in! But if you’re the outdoorsy type, you might be spending the season skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing — or planning your next winter hike. One of the most important parts of getting ready for a hike, especially this time of year, is knowing where you’re going so you can dress and pack accordingly, and that got me thinking about financial planning.
While the benefits of a hike on a sunny winter day are rather clear, it’s sometimes tough for those who haven’t worked through the financial planning process — or who have worked with a “financial planner” who doesn’t do actual financial planning — to fully understand the upsides of having a strong financial plan.
Without a financial plan — or the right plan for you, for that matter — your future, like a seemingly unending hiking trail in front of you, can seem uncertain. How can you properly prepare for what’s to come? What should you expect along the way? What do you do if you come to a fork in the path or take a wrong turn?
While we might not be able to help you find the trail for the best hike in town, we can help you with the path toward your financial future — starting with helping you understand the benefits of having a financial plan.
5 benefits of having a financial plan
1. A clear view of your financial past, present, future
This first benefit is threefold. First, when you work through the financial planning process, you can see past mistakes from an objective point of view. With this new mindset, you can then learn from those mistakes. Second, a solid financial plan lets you know where you’re at financially today and how far you’ve come since you began your relationship with your planner. Third, having a plan that you consistently reassess with your advisor means you can keep the path toward your financial future in sight.
Like a great hiking buddy, it’s important to find a financial planner you like, trust, and can grow with.
2. Answers to your biggest “what-ifs”
You wouldn’t set off on a morning hike without packing the essentials — and extras in case of inclement weather, a wildlife encounter, or an unexpected injury. Similarly, when your financial plan is in place, you can begin preparing for whatever might be around the next corner. In addition, your financial planner can test your plan against the unexpected and is by your side to advise you should an issue arise.
3. Dreams come true
When you and your financial advisor create a plan with the right risk level for your unique situation, you can be on the path to achieving your financial goals. From a vacation home or investment property purchase to saving for your children’s education expenses or retirement, a plan could help you reach your financial summit.
4. Planning for many things at once doesn’t have to be overwhelming
If you’re saving for retirement while helping your two kids save for college and paying down the mortgage on your third investment property, you might feel like you’re being pulled in many financial directions. Just like your map telling you which way to turn, an advisor can help you prioritize, creating a holistic financial plan you can follow.
5. You don’t have to go it alone
With your plan in hand, an ongoing relationship with your Certified Financial Planner™ professional who stays on top of what’s going on in the industry can help you make the most of it. And, if your financial planner acts as a fiduciary, he or she is committed to working in your best interest. When you find someone you can trust your financial planning to, you can get back to your life and what you do best while your financial planner does what he or she does best.
Perhaps the best benefits of all are putting your money to work for you and growing your relationship with your financial planner — not to mention the peace of mind having a planned path in front of you offers.