Posts Taged financial-planning

Kick off Your Summer with a Mid-Year Financial Checkup

Ah, summertime! The perfect time to kick back, pour a tall glass of iced tea, and enjoy some hard-earned time with family and friends.

But before you check out for vacation, take a few moments to review your personal finances and ensure that you’re on track for success throughout the rest of the year. This short financial check-in can give you confidence that your bank account and investments are working hard for you – even while you soak up summer sunshine by the shore.

Here are some of the areas you’ll want to review during your mid-year financial checkup.

1. Your Budget

Setting a budget in January is easy. Sticking with that budget throughout the year isn’t always. Summer is a great time to check up on your budget and spending goals and see how your spending adds up.

If you know you’re going off-budget in certain areas, don’t ignore the problem and hope it corrects itself. Make the necessary adjustments now to allocate funds from one section to another or cut back on certain expenditures to stay on target.

2. Your Credit Score

When was the last time you checked your credit score? If it’s been a while, take this mid-year opportunity to inspect your score. It’s especially important to know your credit score and develop a strategy for improvement if you plan to make any large financial decisions later on in the year.

You also don’t want to let your debt repayment strategy take a break during the summer months. Continue to work down your debts and ensure that you have a bill-pay plan in place even if you will be out of your regular routine for a period of weeks or months this summer.

3. Your Tax Strategy

Just because it’s the middle of the year doesn’t mean you should be sleeping on your tax strategy. If you’re looking to achieve tax savings when you file next year, ensure that you’re taking the right steps today to see those savings later on.

Review your earnings, deductions, and special accounts and see whether there are areas where you can allocate funds more effectively. You may also wish to look into ways to offload potential tax liabilities before the end of the year.

4. Your Retirement and Estate Plans

While you’re looking into your portfolio activity, take some time to review your retirement and estate plans. Even if you’re not planning to cash in for many years yet, you want to stay up-to-date with your portfolio performance and make course corrections if necessary. Small adjustments over time will help you to stay in closer range to your long-term financial goals.

5. Your Progress Toward Financial Checkpoints

Regardless of your financial status, spending habits, or future goals, summer is a great time to check in with your financial performance as it pertains to your present and future. Take some time this summer to schedule a meeting with your financial advisor for a tailored financial checkup that’ll keep you in the know as the year goes on.

Are you inspired by your mid-year financial checkup to take a more active role in your future financial planning? Contact Jacob Sturgill to learn more about how Puckett & Sturgill’s financial planning services can help you balance your current finances with your short- and long-term goals.

What to Expect After Your First Visit With Your Financial Advisor

Financial Planning - Puckett & Sturgill Financial Group

The first meeting with your financial advisor is a starting point meant to clarify your values, current financial situation, and long-term goals. It should form the basis of a transparent, symbiotic relationship where the advisor helps develop a plan that links where you are today with where you anticipate wanting to be in the future and helps you make course corrections to keep you on track as things change along the way.

It’s what happens after your first visit with your financial advisor that sets the course for your future investment strategy and goal setting. Here’s what you should expect to happen after that initial discovery meeting.

Receive a Personalized Financial Recommendation

After your discovery meeting, your financial advisor will synthesize the information you provided and work to develop a financial recommendation that makes sense for your lifestyle and goals. Likely, your advisor will identify a few possible investment routes for you to choose from.

The information shared in your first meeting will give your advisor the inputs necessary to develop a personalized investment plan for you. Just because one investment style works well for other investors or you’re interested in a popular retirement plan doesn’t necessarily make it the right fit for your lifestyle and goals. Your financial advisor should be able to help you understand why certain investment options are better for you specifically.

Choose a Financial Path and Make a Commitment

After you receive your financial recommendation, you’re well on your way to the path that is best for your lifestyle and goals. And remember, your financial advisor should be able to assist you with decisions and implementation each step of the way. If you have questions or concerns, your advisor can point you toward answers that’ll make your decision process go more smoothly.

When you’ve settled on a recommended plan, your advisor can give you the guidance you need to put that plan into action. This include working through initial steps to set up your portfolio, as well as putting checks in place to keep track of your progress.

Keep in Touch with Your Financial Advisor

Once you’ve chosen a financial plan to follow, you’ll continue to work closely with your advisor to stay up-to-date on your investments and make changes to your portfolio, when necessary. Even if you and your advisor agree on a plan at the outset, it may not be appropriate for you over time. And there’s nothing wrong with that; in fact, it’s to be expected that you’ll need to change course once or twice along the way.

It’s important to stay in touch with your advisor through regular communication and maintenance meetings. This way you can stay on top of your portfolio and make updates as needed.

If you’re looking for a personalized financial recommendation to inspire your financial future, contact Jacob Sturgill.

What to Expect from Your First Meeting with Your Financial Advisor

So, you’re ready to meet with a financial advisor! You’re ready to sort out your finances and take positive steps to make solid financial decisions for your future. Whatever your goals, you know that working with a professional can help you progress toward them in a balanced way that aligns your values with your investment decisions.

Maybe you’ve got a meeting on the books or you’re getting ready to pick up the phone and make that call to schedule one, but you wonder: what is this meeting going to be like?

Read on to learn more about what you should expect from your first meeting with your financial advisor, as well as what you should bring along to that appointment.

The Purpose of a Discovery Meeting

Your first meeting – or discovery meeting – will lay the groundwork for your relationship with your financial advisor going forward. Of course, you are meeting with your advisor to get financial advice, but it’s important that you and your advisor are on the same page before they can offer that advice.

After all, building an investment portfolio certainly isn’t a “one size fits all” approach. There’s no one formula that works well for all investors at all points in time.

Your advisor needs to know who you are as a person (or couple, if you’re seeking counsel with your spouse), what your values are and how your finances play into your long-term personal goals. After all, you ideally want to use your finances to fuel something, whether that’s your retirement, estate or anything else.

What You Should Bring to Your Discovery Meeting

At your discovery meeting, your financial advisor will ask you specific questions about your money, both to learn where you are now and where you’d like to be. This may be a tough conversation, especially since money isn’t often a topic for everyday discussion.

One of the most important things to bring to your discovery meeting is an open mind. Establishing a working relationship with your advisor requires transparency and openness in order for you to get the most out of your recommendations going forward.

You also want to bring a summary of your finances and holdings in order to give your financial advisor something to work with. Of course, these don’t tell the whole story and you will want to bring along a summary – even just a verbal one – of your goals and ideals as well. Again, the purpose here is to give your financial advisor a big picture view of your situation specifically.

What Your Financial Advisor Should Bring to Your Discovery Meeting

Since the purpose of your discovery meeting is to establish a relationship with your financial advisor, you should expect your advisor to bring a few things to the table as well.

Most importantly, your financial advisor should listen carefully throughout your conversation to gauge your goals and values, and to get to know you better. After all, you’ll be working together on important financial decisions going forward. It’s imperative that your financial advisor does their best to get to know you before stepping in to offer advice and recommendations.

Additionally, your financial advisor will work with you determine how often you should meet after your initial meeting. Remember, you’re establishing a working relationship, not simply having an initial meeting just to get a folder full of recommendations.

Are you ready to get a better understanding of your finances? Set up a discovery meeting today!

Important Disclosures:

Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a registered investment advisor, member FINRA/SIPC.

Goals and the Plan to Reach Them

Financial Planning - Puckett and Sturgill Financial Group

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where–” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“–so long as I get SOMEWHERE,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”*

When it comes to your financial picture and long-term goals, do you find yourself wondering as Alice did in Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”?

If you are like most people, you probably have a number of financial goals but no real plan to achieve them. What should you do when your objectives compete? Where do you turn for answers? Perhaps you’ve turned to friends, the internet, or popular voices in finance for answers, but you’re still not sure you’re on the right path.

A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ™ practitioner can help you connect your investments to what is most important to you and in the end, can help you make better financial decisions. Here’s how:

Your Financial Advisor Should Ask the Right Questions

Money is an emotional topic and talking or even thinking about it can be hard. Very hard.

In order for your financial advisor to help you make informed decisions with your money, you will need to share important personal information about yourself and your family. This conversation also requires a transparent assessment of your current financial situation. Moving beyond your assets and liabilities, your advisor should clarify what it is that you want to accomplish both personally and professionally as well as who and what is important to you, what you would like to accomplish as well as when you would like to accomplish it.

Modern financial planning is a continuous and evolving process; it isn’t about one-off transactions or products as it might’ve once been or is sometimes perceived to be but is about a relationship with a professional advisor that will help you get from where you are to where you would like to be.

Your Financial Advisor Should Customize a Plan that’s Uniquely Yours

After the gathering information stage, your financial advisor should have a clearer picture of your unique situation and work with a team of experienced and trusted professionals such as CPAs and attorneys to develop a comprehensive plan that addresses your objectives.

In this way, your financial advisor works like an architect to design a financial home that suits your current needs as well as your plans for future self.

But it takes a clear understanding of investment options as well as an understanding of each clients’ individual financial situation before jumping into the investment deep end. One size certainly does not fit all when it comes to investing.

Like a scientist, your financial advisor will put the “things” under a microscope and analyze each factor critically before developing a plan to move forward. Just because something looks good on paper or is recommended by a popular finance blog doesn’t mean it’ll work for you.

Your financial advisor knows this and will spend time experimenting with potential combinations before delivering a cohesive financial recommendation for your future.

Before you decide to implement any part of an investment plan, you want to find an advisor whose set of investment beliefs, methods, philosophies, and thoughts on markets resonates with you.

Your Financial Advisor Should Offer Ongoing Advice and Recommendations

Once your advisor has a designed a personalized financial plan for you, it’s time to get to work.
After all, your financial advisor is there to do just that: advise.

From an early age, we are taught that the quickest way to get from point A (where you are today) to point B (where you want to be in the future) is a straight line. In some sense, your initial plan shares the element of a straight line. However, life, like the markets, rarely moves in a linear fashion. This means that at some point your initial plan will need to be changed and you should both know and be OK with that. We won’t know the cause – the who, what, when, where, or how – but as Heraclitus once said: “change is the only constant”.

What you should have with your financial advisor by now is a relationship. Relationships take time to build and are built on trust. Like any relationship, they are built on honest, regular communication and from time to time, a little work.

How does your financial advisor check out? Does he or she understand your goals and lifestyle, analyze the components critically and offer a custom financial plan for your future?

If not, don’t you deserve a financial advisor who can do these things for you? After all, it’s your money and your financial goals on the line.

Start setting your long term goals with the advice of Certified Financial Planner, Jacob Sturgill

*Carroll, Lewis, 1832-1898. (2000). Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Peterborough, Ont. :Broadview Press

Tempus Fugit!

David Hemler, CFP®
Time does indeed fly, and as we get older in years, we might even say it speeds up. As I write this, it’s mid-October and the fall season has begun to show itself here in Carroll County and our surrounding communities. Things are very different this October than last, but regardless fall can be counted on to result in the same outcomes. The leaves will change color and fall from the trees, which is critical to their survival over the long winter months to come. As time marches on we are reminded of two old sayings, “The one thing we can always count on is change,” and “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Both are true.

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