Financial Planning Introduction:
Applying what you Know

It is one thing to know something, but it is often another thing to do it and apply it to real life.  Most of us have known people who are good about talking about something but yet when it comes to action they seem to never deliver.  This dichotomy is just as big of a problem in finances as it is in any other area of life.   Therefore, it is important to go over some actual actions that you can take toward having more financial success and creating a better future for both you and your family.

Because finances are an aspect of life, it makes sense to break actions up based upon the periods of life, which we all go through.  Namely, these areas are college planning, portfolio management, retirement planning and end of life estate issues.   Regardless of who we are or where we are at in life we usually find ourselves dealing with one or more of these areas.   While it is true that some will not have college expenses, this same category applies just as well to other lump sum expenses such as a secondary home or a business purchase or any number of things, which we might have to plan ahead for because of the amount of the purchase.  Therefore, try to see beyond the categories themselves to other areas of life that the same principles might apply.

Keeping that in mind, here are brief descriptions of each of the major life cycle areas along with a description of the unique challenges they provide from a financial standpoint:

Life Cycle 1 -- College Planning (Lump Sum Purchasing)

College planning is something we need to plan for due to the fact that the average college expenses for any given year will exceed the amount most are able to save within that year.  Thus, we must plan ahead and begin saving before the actual expense arrives.  When we examine this topic we will discuss the most common mistakes people make when saving for college and how to make intelligent investment decisions that ensure proper growth along with the safety and liquidity necessary for this type of expense.   We will discuss how important growth funds/stocks are for this type of saving and at what point one should move to safer investments.

Life Cycle 2 -- Portfolio Management (Active Investment Management)

Portfolio management is the category we will use for monies that are not allocated for any specific purpose and which will eventually accrue to an individuals estate.  The key-differentiating factor for this category is that there is no immediate goal for the money and it is outside of other lump sum purchases (houses/college) and retirement.  We will focus on the steps involved for actively managing a portfolio and what an individual can do to manage it themselves rather than using an outside broker or advisor.

Life Cycle 3 -- Retirement Planning (401K's/SEP's/IRA's/ROTH's/Pensions/etc.)

Retirement planning is probably the biggest overall concern for most people.  Therefore we will cover the many different types of investment choices available and which ones are appropriate for a given individual.  We will also discuss how to calculate the income needed and determine the net growth needed in order to meet the calculated retirement needs.

Life Cycle 4 -- Legacy and End of Life Estate Management

Lastly, we will discuss a subject not very popular with anyone, yet of interest to all.   We will discuss what happens when we die from an estate standpoint and what we can do to ensure that our heirs or desired beneficiaries receive maximum benefits as well as covering other end of life issues such as medical expenses and philanthropy.

Information is for educational and informational purposes only and is not be interpreted as financial or legal advice. This does not represent a recommendation to buy, sell, or hold any security. Please consult your financial advisor.