Posts Taged financial-planning

Estate Planning 101

Estate planning is an important cornerstone of your financial plan. While it may not be the most pleasant topic to think about, at some point or another you need to consider what will happen to your assets after you’re gone.

For some, estate planning can seem like a mysterious part of the financial planning puzzle, but when you break estate planning into its individual parts, it’s not all that difficult to navigate. Read on to learn more about estate planning basics and how you can ensure that your legacy is carried out as you intend it.

Take Stock of Your Assets

Before you start planning where to allocate your assets, you need to know what you have. Gather information about your tangible assets — things like property and valuable — and intangible ones — such as bank accounts and investments — that will be passed down.

This may take some time and careful research to ensure that you account for each and every asset that your family will need to work through later on. However, your diligence in tracking down these details now will save your family members big headaches later on.

After you’ve gathered details regarding your inheritable assets, you need to value them. Some assets, like your home, can be professionally valued through an appraisal. Other assets may need to be valued in terms of how valuable they’ll be to those who inherit them. A financial advisor can help you to determine how to value your assets and give you some guidelines for making a realistic valuation of your assets.

Build Your Team

You probably don’t relish the idea of working through your estate plan alone. Even though it’s not the most complex task, there are plenty of places where you’ll have questions or want some guidance in choosing between alternatives.

For this reason, it’s important to build an estate planning team that can give you the professional guidance you need to create a workable estate plan. Ideally, you’ll want to work with a lawyer to handle legal documents, such as your will and trust paperwork.

You will also want to work closely with your financial advisor throughout the estate planning process. Your advisor can help you to determine your best course of action regarding asset allocation, valuation, and beneficiaries. They can also work with your family members to help them understand your plan and carry it out when the time comes.

While your financial advisor and lawyer may never actually meet in the same room, you’ll want to keep lines of communication open with both parties, in case there are questions or concerns about some matter of your estate plan.

You will also want to keep your family members looped into your estate planning activities. After all, they are the ones who will be responsible for enacting your plan later on. When your loved ones feel included in the estate planning process and know the key players in helping you to establish it, they will feel some level of peace when they work with your team in the future.

Get Your Documents in Order

There are a number of legal documents you need in place as you establish your estate plan. You may already have some of these, while others will need to be created during your estate planning process.

You will want to gather information about your assets — things like bank account numbers, titles and deeds, investment information, and so forth — as you work through the asset and valuation process. You will also need documents like your will, life insurance information, and guardianship papers for you children (if applicable).

Finally, you’ll work on items like trust paperwork, medical care directives, and financial power of attorney as you go through the financial planning process. You will want to carefully consider the individual(s) who you’ll use as your agent(s) in financial affairs, since they will have the authority to make important decisions, should you become medically unable to do so.

Keep Track of Beneficiaries

As you work through your estate planning, you will need to designate beneficiaries for all of your assets. Many items, like your life insurance and retirement accounts, will already have space for this information included in your paperwork when you create an account or make updates.

It’s important to carefully consider your beneficiaries and to review them from time to time. There could be family changes that require you to assign new beneficiaries to some or all of your assets and you need to keep this in mind if you go through a major family event, like a remarriage. If you fail to update your beneficiaries, your assets could end up never going to the person(s) you intend.

Additionally, it’s important to always provide beneficiary information for your accounts. You never want to leave this section of paperwork blank. In the event of your untimely passing, an account without a beneficiary is subject to state laws to determine its allocation. This may or may not work in favor of your loved ones’ best interests, so it’s best to make the designation yourself.

Prepare to Make Adjustments

Just as with your retirement planning, you need to go into estate planning with the understanding that your first plan will not be your only one. Times change. Family relationships go through ups and downs. Markets fluctuate. There’s simply no way to draw up a totally future-proofed estate plan.

Your financial advisor can give you the guidance you need to establish your estate plan today and the foresight you need to stay on track for the future. Perhaps you’ll forget about some details, like updating beneficiaries as your family grows and you gain new grandchildren, but your advisor can provide timely reminders.

Estate planning isn’t the most exciting activity, but it’s a necessary step for protecting your loved ones and your assets after you pass away. That’s why it’s a good idea to choose a trusted advisor who knows you personally and has your best interests at heart.

Here at Puckett & Sturgill Financial Group, our team of experienced CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals can handle your estate planning needs with compassion. If you are curious about the estate planning process or need to make updates to an existing plan, contact us today to learn more about our estate planning services!

Back to School: Balancing Educational Savings for Multiple Children

Back to school season is a whirlwind of activity for students and their families. Whether you’ve got elementary-aged children or high schoolers looking ahead to the next step, you’ve probably already considered options for funding the college days to come.

For families with multiple children, this probably means multiple college funds – and that may be a daunting prospect. But with some thoughtful planning, you might find that balancing educational savings for multiple children is more attainable than it seems.

And parents aren’t the only ones who might consider college savings plans. Grandparents who want to contribute to their grandchildren’s educational future certainly need to consider how balancing educational savings for multiple students will impact their financial plans.

Below are some tips that can help you prepare for your children’ or grandchildren’s college savings needs.

Make a Plan

Before you know how much to save for your students’ future educational needs, you need to know what you’d ideally like to set aside for them. Are you prepared to pay full tuition to any school of their choosing?

Saving for college looks different for every family and the most important plan is one that works for your budget. If you want to contribute enough to pay partial tuition at a state college, you will need to set aside less money than if you plan to bankroll every cent of a private four-year education.

Planning for multiple college savings funds doesn’t preclude a generous financial contribution to each of your children’ or grandchildren’s college educations. However, you may need to be prepared to contribute more money at a greater frequency to achieve the savings you desire.

Commit to Saving

Once you know what you want to save, you need to put your plan into action. There are various savings options for parents and grandparents to use when putting funds aside for their students’ future, including the popular 529 Plan. Your financial advisor can help you to determine which plans might be a good fit for your family.

It may be tempting to put your students’ college savings plans to the back burner to be dealt with after you handle regular expenditures and higher priority investments. But if you do that for too long, you’ll begin to fall short of your savings goals.

One of the easiest ways to prioritize college savings is to automate deposits toward your college savings funds. Your financial advisor can help you calculate the amount you need to set aside each month in order to reach your savings goals.

Encourage Academic Success

As your children or grandchildren get closer to college age, their academics will make a greater impact on the amount of family funding they’ll need to get through school. If your students are able to earn scholarships or grants toward their college educations, your piece of the financial puzzle gets smaller.

Encourage your students to pursue academic success by working toward good grades and a high GPA. Help them to study for standardized tests, like the SAT and ACT. Each of these factors will make a difference when it comes time to fill out college applications.

There are, of course, many individual factors to consider when it comes to balancing educational savings for multiple children. If you’re looking at your educational funding options, your CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ can help. Contact Jake Sturgill today for a consultation today!

Prior to investing in a 529 plan investors should consider whether the investor’s or designated beneficiary’s home state offers any state tax or other state benefits such as financial aid, scholarship funds, and protection from creditors that are only available for investments in such state’s qualified tuition program. Withdrawals used for qualified expenses are federally tax tree. Tax treatment at the state level may vary. Please consult with your tax advisor before investing. 

Let Freedom Ring! Simple Steps for Working Toward Financial Freedom

When it comes to talking about managing your finances, a popular term that often gets thrown around is “financial freedom”. But what exactly does this mean?

In general, those who refer to financial freedom might be talking about things like getting out of debt, setting aside money to reach financial goals, or building a cash flow that affords them the type of lifestyle that they desire. And while these are certainly financial benchmarks worth aspiring to, trying to achieve any one of these ideals without a solid plan in place can end in frustration and failure.

So, what are some of the steps that you can take to pursue financial freedom? Consider the following:

1. Clarify Your Desired Financial State

While the concept of financial freedom might not look the same to you as it does to your co-worker, sibling, or friend, it’s important to define exactly what it is that’ll help you to feel more in control of your financial situation. Then, you want to put a plan in place to pursue that goal.

For example, if your goal is to get out of debt and set aside a nest egg for yourself and your spouse, you will want to take steps to both pay off your debts AND build sustainable savings for future use. Often, you’ll be working toward multiple financial benchmarks that, when combined, represent financial freedom for yourself or your family.

2. Evaluate Your Lifestyle

Your lifestyle factors play into your financial health in more ways that you might think. While things like your credit score and spending habits are obviously influential, other aspects of your lifestyle, like your physical health and outlook on life, can have a big impact.

Ideally, you want to take stock of how your day-to-day activities, from your morning mocha to your weekend plans, make a difference in your spending habits and savings goals. You can take simple steps to save money on a daily basis, which can give you funds to pay back debt or save with.

Other steps, like making a dramatic lifestyle change to eat better and exercise daily for a healthier future, can take time and commitment, but may impact your financial plans by limiting the amount of money you anticipate to spend on health expenses into retirement. Even seemingly unrelated lifestyle adjustments can make a huge difference to your long-term plans.

3. Look into Your Investment Options

Since savings is often a component of working toward financial freedom, it’s essential to consider your savings options for addressing short- and long-term goals. For many individuals, an investment strategy is a solid way to work toward these goals.

A benefit of early investing is that you have the opportunity to capitalize on greater returns over time. The longer you wait for investment strategies to develop, the more they can work toward your long-term savings goals. And while early investing is ideal, if you’re coming into the financial planning game a little later, it’s never too late to start taking steps in the right direction.

4. Work with a Financial Advisor

Of course, there’s plenty that you can’t predict when it comes to managing your financial goals and investment activities, which is why it’s essential to work with a financial professional who can help you to connect the dots between your desired financial state and the actions that’ll help you get there. A qualified financial advisor can equip you to evaluate what financial freedom means for your situation specifically, while taking your lifestyle factors and long-term goals into consideration.

Are you ready to work toward financial freedom for your family? Contact Jacob Sturgill today to learn more about how our personalized financial planning services can make a difference for your financial future!

Ask David: What are the Top Considerations to Make Regarding My Financial Decisions?

Sifting through your financial decisions requires attention to detail and management of more than a few moving pieces. Today, we’re talking with advisor David Hemler, MS, MPAS®, CFP® about some of the primary considerations to make when thinking through financial decisions, big and small.

Consideration 1: Risk

Are you considering doing something with some of your money? What’s the risk? Everything has a risk and usually if something sounds too good to be true, it often is.

Your financial advisor can help you navigate the potential risks associated with your financial decisions, whether you’re planning to make a large purchase in the near future or are considering your retirement savings plans.

Consideration 2: Taxes

Many folks who have gotten to know me have likely heard me say; “risk and taxes, risk and taxes…” These are two main factors of working in financial planning.

While paying taxes is a certainty, overpaying on your taxes doesn’t have to be. Financial planning and maintaining a cohesive tax strategy can prevent you from paying too much in taxes on your investments, returns, and withdrawals. Your financial advisor can be an invaluable partner in determining a tax strategy that may save you money over time.

Consideration 3: Allocation

Allocation refers to the areas where you have your wealth allocated. Most people consider their stocks, bonds, cash and real estate investments as the primary areas where their assets are concentrated. But it’s important to know where your assets are distributed and how this lines up with your risk tolerance or risk acceptance and tax strategy.

There is no one size fits all approach to allocation planning, and it’s important to talk to your financial advisor about different ways you might allocate your wealth. Age-based investing and general rules of thumb come into play here, too, so it’s a good idea to work with an advisor who has a solid understanding of your situation and goals, as well as the investment options you have before you.

Consideration 4: Diversification

In some ways, diversification is similar to allocation, but with a little more nuance. You can think of allocation as the way your assets are distributed throughout larger baskets and diversification as the components that make up those baskets.

For example, if you have stock investments, you wouldn’t want to put all of your investment into a single stock. Instead, you’d split your investments between various stocks and fund options to build a more robust portfolio.

More diversity in your financial makeup makes your finances more likely to withstand market fluctuations and varying risk levels across your asset allocations.

Consideration 5: Fees

There are fees associated with many of your investments and financial activities. Sometimes, it can seem like choosing a lower fee investment is better than a higher fee one, if the returns from each are equal.

But, as with many things in finance, things aren’t always as they appear. The best way to avoid tying your finances up in unnecessary fees is to work with an advisor who can help you to understand the various fees, including hidden fees, that your financial decisions might incur.

Consideration 6: Faith

Lastly, one of the last things to consider in making your financial decisions is your faith in the decisions that you’ve made. While emotional investing isn’t the ticket to reaching your goals, having faith in the process is an essential part of managing your wealth.

When you consider a dollar, think about how you might invest it, how long it can stay there, and how ups and downs might bring you a return or loss on that single dollar. Now, apply this principle to your financial decision making process and you’ll start to see how the faith aspect works when it comes to wealth management.

Do you have money questions? Contact Puckett & Sturgill Financial Group to learn about how we can help you make informed financial decisions with confidence. Be well and prosper!

All investing involves risk including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

Are You Covered? Checking in with Your Personal Insurance Needs

When you think about planning for your future, a lot of times you may be thinking long-term toward retirement or some other big financial goal. But short-term financial planning is important too.

One way to keep your current needs in mind is to consider your lifestyle and whether your insurance status aligns with your short-term needs. Sure, you probably review your auto insurance plan at least once a year, but what of your other policies?

Take a few minutes to consult this insurance checklist and ensure that you’re on the right path for meeting your (and your family’s) insurance needs for short-term protection and confidence.

1. Have Your Coverage Needs Changed?

As you go through life transitions and even as policies update from year to year, you may find that your coverage needs have changed since you last reviewed your insurance needs. Check in with your health, life, and homeowners insurance policies to determine whether they are adequate for your current lifestyle.

Don’t forget to account for major life changes, like births, deaths, or retirement, since these can impact the coverage amounts you require. Ultimately, keeping your policies in line can save you money on your monthly payments (if you find you have too much coverage in one or more areas) or will provide a more adequate amount of coverage for you and your family members (if your lifestyle has changed significantly since your last review).

2. Are Your Beneficiaries Up-to-Date?

In addition to checking whether your coverage is up-to-date, you will want to take a moment to review your beneficiaries listed on your policies. This is especially important if you’ve recently added a new family member who might not have made it onto your insurance plan(s) yet.

You also should check whether your beneficiary information is correct. If you have adult children, make sure that their names and addresses listed correctly, since their major life events, like marriage and moves, can require a quick policy update.

3. What Policies Might be Missing?

Are you covered in all of the areas that you need to ensure your family’s security? If you’re recently married or have a growing family, perhaps now is the time to consider that life insurance policy you’ve been putting off. Or maybe it’s time to consider extending your disability coverage or natural disaster protection for your home.

Talk to your financial advisor about how to best cover your lifestyle and protect your family’s assets in the event of an unexpected illness or disaster. You may be surprised at how your coverage needs differ from the coverage you already have.

4. Do You Have Policies You No Longer Need?

On the flip side, you may be paying toward insurance coverage that you don’t really need anymore. Perhaps your life insurance policy carries far more coverage than you and your empty nesting spouse really need. Maybe your asset protection policies cover items you no longer own or use. If you’re insurance coverage exceeds your needs, talk to your financial advisor about amending policies or removing coverage to better reflect your lifestyle needs.

5. Do I Need Help Managing My Personal Coverage Needs?

It can be a big task to sift through your insurance paperwork to determine which policies you have, what your coverage amounts are, and whether these are relevant to your lifestyle and future financial goals. But the good news is that you need not work through these tasks alone.

Talk to a trusted financial professional, like Jacob Sturgill who can help you to work through your lifestyle needs and determine whether you’re on track to meet your personal and family needs. If you’d like to connect with an advisor who will take the time to get to know you personally and develop a customized financial plan, contact Puckett & Sturgill Financial Group today to schedule a consultation.

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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