What Is Financial Planning and Why Should I Embrace It?

By K. Bridget Schneider, CFP®, CRPC®

Financial planning means different things to different people depending upon their needs. For some, it may create images of a comfortable retirement. For others, it’s about being able to provide money for a college education. It might even include career-related decisions or the purchase of life insurance. But too often I see people delay planning for the future all together.

Over the years I have heard comments such as, “I’m too busy trying to take care of today to worry about tomorrow” or “when I get some extra money I’ll do that.” Would you like to know a secret? It isn’t the amount of money that makes the difference – it’s time.

Time is precious to all of us and I’m sure you will agree that we can make the most of it when we follow a strategy for what we need to accomplish. That strategy comes easily when we are familiar with the tasks to be accomplished but can be very difficult when we are unsure. Just consider how easy it is to shop in a familiar store compared to trying to find the same items in a store you have never been in before. It might take three times as long unless you ask for help from a store clerk!

How does that tie in with financial planning? Well, to get to where you want to be financially, you need to figure out where you are now. Everyone’s situation is a little different, so each financial journey will be a little different. But following a financial plan can help you do more with your money. Careful planning will help you set priorities and enable you to work toward your goals. There is a wealth of information available on the internet and in books, not to mention television and radio, but that general information may leave you with more questions than answers on how it applies to you.

So where do you get objective information that fits your situation? A financial planner may make developing a plan easier. This is a professional who provides advice or guidance for a wide variety of financial issues. A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional will be knowledgeable in many areas including investing, asset allocation, risk management, tax, retirement, and estate planning. They will take a comprehensive approach to your situation to help you make sense of it for a fee that may be minor compared to the savings you receive from acting on the advice provided.

The right time to create a financial plan is now. No matter what your income level or your hopes for the future, you need a solid plan to address your goals. Making your journey through life without one is a recipe for disaster. It doesn’t matter where you start your journey, but it is awesome to finish at the destination of your choice. Only you have the power to take control of your financial life instead of letting life control your finances.

If you would like to speak with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional about your situation or schedule a complimentary introductory meeting, please call Level Connections Financial Advisors at (217) 605-8130.

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