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Options for saving and investing are more plentiful—and complex—than ever. It's the job of financial advisors to not only stay current with changes in financial markets, the economy, and the types of investments available, but also to explain how those affect your life and plans.
The chart above (download the PDF version) gives you a way to think about where and when you use your money (the "Client Money" span) and major life milestones (the "Client Journey" span). The blue, orange, and green "wavy" lines show the span of three typical sources of income. The Emergency Fund (black "wavy" line) is an ongoing financial resource that may need to be replenished occasionally. And student loans (red dot) typically take decades to pay off. Your details may be different, but you get the idea.
If you already have a financial plan in place and are looking for advice on investments, our investment management service may be where we start.
What Is Financial Planning?
It's the process in which we review your current finances against your financial goals.
The scope of your financial plan depends on what you need and want. You may want to just focus on short-term but sizeable goals such as children’s tuition or a vacation home. You may want to lay out the path all the way to retirement and beyond. We are happy to help in any case.
Why Is Financial Planning Important?
- It creates a timeline for you to follow for your goals.
- It helps you focus on how you manage your money and your time so that you can do the things you want to.
- It reduces your stress about money, providing a base that helps you calmly assess market changes and their impact on your investments.
What sets WFS apart is we not only address the “technical side” of money (assets, investments, taxes, etc.) but we also work with you concerning the personal side (relationships, family, hopes, dreams, worries, fears.)
It’s often the personal side that drives money decisions. We help you with the sometimes-thorny conversations that can come up in financial discussions between spouses or with family members.
How Do I Create a Financial Plan?
Review Your WFS Experience to see a summary of the steps we follow, which are similar to that of other financial advisors.
We approach them with flexibility. For example, if you’re not ready to think about retirement yet, we’re happy to start with your near-term goals. We still keep the medium-term and long-term in mind on your behalf, building up our knowledge of your desires as we go.
What Outcome Should I Expect from WFS Financial Planning?
Together, we develop a written plan. Below are the typical details. Your plan will match the specifics of your situation.
- Your current financial situation: assets, debt, cash flow, current investments.
- Your concerns about risk and loss.
- Any assumptions that were made.
- Your goals and target figures for what you will need for them.
- The investment plan for your money: How much will be invested, in what types of investments, for how long.
- How often the plan will be reviewed.
- Additional resources you need to carry out the plan: Estate planning, tax planning, etc.
As with our other services, we implement the plan we developed in earlier steps. If parts of it need to be addressed by other specialties, we bring in the appropriate resources to handle them and/or work with your other advisors as needed.
Depending on your needs, the plan may be implemented all at once or in stages.
The key to a successful financial plan is ongoing monitoring and adjustment. We review the plan together on a regular basis. We are always available to you in-between those reviews as well.
Visit the Financial Industry Regulatory Association web site to learn more about financial planners.