The benefits of a financial plan during market instability
While it’s always important to have a holistic financial plan, there may be no time more important than when we are facing times of instability in the market. Having a comprehensive financial plan in place during times of uncertainty may not only help you make more thoughtful (and less fear-based decisions), but it can also give you confidence and a guiding light during unsettling times. It’s easy to remain disciplined at investing when the market is on a rise; remaining focused on your financial strategy during a downturn can be much more challenging.
When thinking of a financial plan, most people immediately turn to investment strategies and retirement plans. While those are certainly two foundational components, a holistic financial plan should consider much more...
A holistic financial plan reviews your own personal situation from every angle and ensures you have the right tools in your arsenal to help you accomplish your short and long-term goals, while also providing the best strategies for you throughout your journey. Holistic plans often contain a variety of the below components:
- Investment Strategy
- Retirement Planning
- Social Security and Medicare
- College Planning
- Business and Succession Planning
- Life Insurance & Disability Coverage
- Tax Strategies
- Estate Planning
- Budgeting and Savings
- Charitable Giving
So, how do you ensure you have the best, holistic financial plan to meet your needs? And, once you have a plan in place, what should you do?
- Be honest with your financial planner. The more information you share with your financial planner, the better. We know that it can be scary to divulge your entire financial history – the good, the bad, and the sometimes ugly – but trust us when we say that there is no judgement in anything you share. Ever. We’re all at different places in our journeys – a financial planner’s goal should be to help you get to wherever YOU are trying to go. Also, please know that the information you share will remain completely confidential. The more honest you are (with your planner and yourself) and the more information you share, the more confident you can be that you will have a plan that will get you through the any uncertainty in the market.
- Use your financial planner as a sounding board. Thinking of buying a new home? Considering quitting your long-term job? Before you do any of those things, make an appointment with your financial advisor. If you are following tip #1, then your financial advisor is likely the person best suited to help you evaluate your situation and offer an independent perspective on how that decision may impact your long-term plans. Be prepared: sometimes you may like the advice, other times you may not. But, remember, your financial advisor is here to provide you with personalized advice that is rooted in accomplishing YOUR goals.
- Review your financial plan regularly. Our financial situations change regularly – we change jobs, add to our families, buy new homes – so it’s important to make sure that our financial plan is keeping up with our lives, too. If it’s been a while since you’ve reviewed your plan, schedule a meeting with your financial planner. Share the changes you’ve made in your life – or in your goals – and work together to make the adjustments needed to help you in the short and long-term.
- Own your role in the process. Your financial advisor is here to advise you of the best course of action for you to help accomplish your goals. But, it’s incumbent upon you to stay on top of your plan. Check your accounts, ask questions, follow through on advice, and schedule your annual review meetings. Having a plan is the first step; but putting the plan into action and maintaining it along the way is the key to your success.
- Meet with your financial planner (at least) annually. Twice every year you have your teeth cleaned, your oil in your car changed, your smoke detector batteries rotated, and your heating/cooling units serviced. Meeting with your financial planner should be no different. Make time for the appointment. If you can’t meet in person, schedule a phone call or a virtual appointment. Taking a moment to pause and reflect on your current situation and discussing your long and short-term goals is paramount to ensuring your financial plan continues to grow with your life.