The personal financial planning process

It’s never too early or too late to start planning your financial future. But when it comes to financial planning, we all have different goals and objectives. Sound financial advice and the right investment strategy can determine how well you live today—and in the future. By following these six steps, you can begin building the foundation for a solid financial future:

Step 1: Choose a professional financial advisor

Choosing a professional financial advisor is an important step in the financial planning process. A trusted financial advisor can offer you expert advice and help you create a personalized financial plan. When establishing a new relationship, it is important for you to understand the level of financial planning services that will be available to you.

Additionally, you and your advisor should discuss and agree upon:

  • Fees charged for financial planning services
  • Responsibility for fees rendered by other professionals
  • Expected time frame for the completion of various services
  • Frequency of annual plan reviews as well as costs associated with reviews and amendments
  • Explore how we work with you
  • Learn about our Investment Advisors

Step 2: Identify your goals and objectives

Although it’s important to set realistic financial goals, it’s also important to dream a little. Consider ranking your goals and objectives by level of importance and setting reasonable timeframes for completion. Before determining if your goals and objectives are attainable, you will need to spend some time gathering your personal and financial data and assessing your current financial situation. Some common examples of personal financial goals and objectives include:

  • Paying for a child's educational expenses
  • Purchasing a second home
  • Gaining financial independence
  • Planning for your retirement
  • Ensuring that your estate passes to your heirs according to your wishes

Step 3: Analyze your financial status

After you have identified your financial goals, the next step is to determine how to achieve them. Your financial advisor can help you analyze your finances, make specific recommendations and develop strategies to meet your short- and long-term financial goals. Any recommendations made by your advisor will factor in your timeframe, risk tolerance and investment goals.

Step 4: Discuss your advisor's recommendations

This is where you plan for a face-to-face meeting with your financial advisor to discuss the analysis and recommendations made in Step 3. You should feel comfortable with the recommendations presented and confident in your ability to achieve your financial goals.

Step 5: Implement your plan

Achieving your financial goals requires putting into action the recommendations and strategies made in Step 4. Implementation is key to reaching your goals.

Step 6: Periodically review your plan

Financial planning is an on-going process. To ensure your financial plan continues to meet your needs, your financial advisor will conduct periodic reviews, assess your financial progress and recommend any necessary adjustments.

Regulated by: