When I hear personal financial plan it often makes me think of personal pan pizza. Besides the fact that pan rhymes with plan, they both use the word personal.
Personal financial plan or one-plan-fits-all
Often in financial services things are made for the masses. Popular strategy for retirement plans and 529 plans is the use of a strategy simply based on age. Let’s say that both the same age take off at their destination at two different times. The one who took off at the later starting time would have to make up the distance by going a little bit faster or deciding they were comfortable arriving at a different time. Unfortunately these strategies are not personal financial plans but a plan designed with that assumption that may or may not be true in your case
The average person may like pepperoni on their pizza. But you aren’t an average person and you only want veggies on your pizza (sounds like me). Often I go to events where some assumes that everyone will eat pepperoni or sausage on their pizza. A friend of mine assumed that I would be fine with just peeling off the pepperoni. Not very personal.
Getting personal with your personal financial plan
Personal financial plan can only be developed when someone asks you questions to get to know you. While you may have preferences, you can also be limited in what you actually know and not what’s available in the marketplace. Often issues in developing personal financial plans involve trade-offs or consequence. For example, you may or may not like market risk. If you prefer to take less market risk, then you need to save more or save longer to achieve a certain nest egg.
I believe the personal financial plan building process starts with a session to understand your goals, your values, your existing relationships, your resources and more. After what you want is in clear vision then some financial analysis occurs. After you see what you can or cannot do, you may want to do some additional massaging of your goals.
You may find that you are also concerned about how your plan is built. In the world of building residences and skyscrapers you may want to use Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) materials. Typically you would work with LEED certified architects and builders. In the financial case, you should look for a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ that knows how to do the calculations. As this planner will be getting pretty personal, you likely want find someone that will provide a comforting voice throughout the construction of your plan. There will likely be stormy weather (market volatility, unexpected expenses, loss of income, etc.) that you will need to handle. Every plan requires some alteration after construction gets started. This person will need to be the calming voice. A voice that will represent you with your financial contractors when you aren’t around. You need to have confidence that your personal financial planner represents your best interests with financial foundations that you don’t even see or fully comprehend.
Is that the kind of personal financial planner you have today? If not, don’t you deserve to have one like that?
(1) This information was developed as a general guide to educate plan sponsors, but is not intended as authoritative guidance or tax or legal advice. Each plan has unique requirements, and you should consult your attorney or tax advisor for guidance on your specific situation. In no way does advisor assure that, by using the information provided, plan sponsor will be in compliance with ERISA regulations.