Modern Financial Planning for the Win
“The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.” — Vince Lombardi
Did you watch Sunday’s big game? No matter which team you cheered for — or against — the Kansas City Chiefs received the coveted Lombardi trophy … and took home much more than that in winnings.
What they’ll do — or have already done — with that $124,000 each could be another story. After all, aside from former New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, not many football players are known for being great with their finances. So how can they stack up personal money wins alongside their Ws on the field?
A modern financial planning approach.
Here’s how you can employ such an approach to avoid money mistakes — and start stacking up the financial wins on your own record.
In this case, I’m talking about the big game of your life. Like a team practicing together throughout the season to improve their skills and reach the big game, you can plan for lots of preparation on the path to your comfortable future.
When you’re just starting out as a young adult in the first quarter of your big game, it’s important to lay the framework for your financial life. With a strong foundation in place, you can continue to build up your money skills — and your nest egg — through your second and third quarters during your high-earning years. That’s because, by the fourth quarter, you’ll be nearing the retirement redzone. And while the Chiefs proved on Sunday that it’s possible, it’s best to avoid having to make a comeback late in the game.
But where can you begin? It all starts with knowing where you are now and learning how you can improve. Consider your current financial situation, short- and long-term goals, and your timeline.
Did you come into the game late? While hindsight might be 20/20, just like there’s no going back and asking for a redo for the 49ers, you’ve got to start where you’re at. Then make a plan to reach those goals in the time you’ve got left on the clock.
From saving and investing to spending wisely and ultimately enjoying your financial independence, there might be a lot going on in your game. After all, you’ve got to play both offense and defense! But you’re not in it alone: You have your coach and playbook to guide you.
Yours might not be Kansas City Head Coach Andy Reid, but your financial planner is your money coach. After collaborating with your planner to create and implement your financial plan, he or she helps you stay on track to reach your goals. As players and coaches develop rapport on the practice field, you build a connection with your planner through your ongoing relationship.
He or she can be there on the sideline, guiding you through life’s ins and outs. Whether it’s updating your plan, rebalancing investments, or preparing for tax time, your coach can take some of the responsibility off of your shoulders while you work toward your next win — minus the Gatorade shower. He or she can also connect you with members of your support staff, whether they include an attorney for estate planning, an insurance agent, or another professional for your team.
Yours is, of course, your plan! Just like NFL play-callers have moved from actual books to using tablets on the field, modern financial planning doesn’t involve a heavy book or binder with static content.
Today’s financial plan is interactive, changing as you and your life do. It might include reminders from your planner, deadlines for completing steps on the way to your goals, and tracking it all so you can keep your eyes on the prize. Create your financial playbook by developing goals with your coach and making a plan to reach them — with room for updates along the way.
That’s because not everything goes according to plan, so having a backup can be helpful — just like the all-star quarterback with the end-of-game “Hail Mary” throw up his sleeve. When it comes to your financial life, that backup plan is your emergency fund. With a cash reserve on hand, you can navigate most emergency situations without having to take on debt.
It’s also important to have other safeguards in place. Like a defensive line, protections like health, homeowners and auto, disability, and life insurance can protect your financial bottom line. Your coach can help you make sure your coverage levels are just right so you can stay in the game. Adding to your defense is investment diversification, helping you reduce risk.
With your book in place, you can use those plays to work your way down the field, saving for retirement. Yard by yard — or dollar by dollar — you accumulate funds for your comfortable future, whether you’re planning to win your game in regulation or go into overtime. When you’ve stacked up the wins and made it to the endzone of your savings goals, it’s time to spike the ball and enjoy the after-party, aka your comfortable retirement.
Just remember that, no matter how far ahead you might be today, changes in inflation, the market, and more could try to change your record. But by employing a modern financial planning approach and stress-testing it all, you can add new moves to your playbook to avoid tackles and keep reaching for that pylon.
So how’s your record looking? Now that this year’s big game is in the books, don’t forget to take a look at your own financial playbook, and check in with your coach so you can stay focused on your next win!
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