Posts Taged financial-planning

How to Stay on Track with Long-Term Financial Commitments

Just as New Years resolution gym-goers start to give up their good habits in the first or second month of the year, people abandon all kinds of resolutions or goals within the first months of the New Year. By February, about 80% of all resolutions have been ditched

Good habits are necessary for health and overall wellness, and it’s no different with financial health. Just like with health-related resolutions, where it takes time to plan regular gym visits and healthy meals, it takes consistency and a plan in order to pursue the long-term financial results you’re looking for.

A couple months into the year, it’s easy to lose sight of those ambitious long-term financial commitments you might have thought about or even decided to make a reality this year and beyond. This is especially true if you haven’t taken the time to put the steps in place to ensure you stay on track.

Today, we’re going to dive into what constitutes a long-term financial commitment, why they’re important, and ways that you can work to stay on track if you decide to take one (or more) on. 

 

What qualifies as “long-term”? 

It’s important to first designate financial commitments as short- or long-term. While shorter-term commitments might be achieved in 0-2 years or even 2-10 years, long-term ones can generally be classified as those with a timeline of 10+ years.

Depending on your commitment level, ability to put money away, and unique desires for financial performance, your financial commitments might take varying amounts of time, compared with others. You may even find that one part of your financial plan will move more quickly than another, due to unique factors impacting each portion.

When you work with a financial advisor to establish and track your financial commitments, you can work to figure out feasible timelines for your financial commitments. Generally, retirement plans, 529 education plans, and other big ticket savings goals qualify fall into the long-term financial commitment category, but again, these can vary between individuals. 

 

Why think in the long term?

Going through the process to develop and create long-term financial commitments leads to a better understanding of your unique financial priorities and helps you to solidify a timeline for reaching future goals. Typically, long-term financial goals also lead to measurable short-term goals. This snowball effect is a good thing, since it can keep you focused on the big picture, even while you celebrate the little victories along the way.

Additionally, a combination of short- and long-term financial commitments and goal setting might even lead to a greater mutual understanding between you and your spouse on financial priorities and your overall desired financial future, whatever that may look like.

Lastly, we can’t forget the primary reason for financial benchmarking: to pursue financially a great desire, such as funding a grandchild’s education or having a comfortable retirement, that otherwise you would not be able to achieve. 

 

What makes a good long-term financial commitment?

Ideally, you should strive for your financial commitments to be specific, measurable, and attainable. This is true whether you are saving for retirement or for an investment property: specificity, measurability, and attainability are each important characteristics.

That being said, goals can change. What you want in retirement, what you want to do with a property you want to buy, what your granchildrens’ aspirations are for college and beyond… these might change over time.

What doesn’t change is a commitment to building the capital to make those goals, however they change, a reality. If a goal is centered around motivations that are relatively stable, like having a solid retirement plan and/or being able to spend time and money on your family, it will be important to you.

How can you stay accountable to long-term financial commitments?

Hand in hand with these considerations is a practical step: Record your thoughts on paper, or some place you can access them to review them. Consider taking a novel approach to naming accounts by calling them by the specific goal they are setting out to achieve. As your priorities shift or change, knowing the reasons you set out on this long-term goal in the first place will, at the very least, help you stay dedicated, motivated, and informed when making adjustments. 

A second practical step is breaking down your larger commitments and goals into bite-sized pieces. Setting yearly, quarterly, or even monthly and weekly, if that’s the type of progress that makes you feel in control, makes taking on long-term goals manageable. Part of what makes a goal specific, measurable, and attainable is the ability to break it down to these increments, should you need or want to. 

If you are working on specific savings goals, setting up automated payments can assist in meeting the smaller goals, taking the pressure off you to move money into certain accounts by certain dates. Automated payments or earmarking and immediately disbursing income to savings accounts can help you to prioritize the little steps that are working towards achieving the larger, long-term commitment.

You may also find it helpful to track your progress through apps or spreadsheets, or some other form of reporting. Your financial advisor can be an invaluable resource in helping you to keep track of investments, savings goals, and other factors that impact your progress as you work toward various financial commitments.

As your priorities change, you might also adjust your long-term plans, which is reasonable and even necessary at times. Again, your advisor can also help with these adjustments and make recommendations when plans seem to veer too far off-course. 

Periodic meetings with your financial advisor should be an essential part of your planning as you work toward your long-term financial commitments. Not only can your advisor help you to monitor progress on your financial commitments, but they can help you to put the pieces together to establish goals and benchmarks that will help you to bring your ideal financial future into focus. They also provide a professional perspective that can objectively view your existing commitments to determine whether they align with your desires or whether they should be tweaked to make the most impact.

Set up an appointment today

Our advisors at Puckett & Sturgill Financial Group are the CFP® professionals who can help you take the steps necessary to develop and keep track of your long-term financial commitments. Set up an appointment today! 

Ask an Advisor – Nonqualified deferred compensation

Different parts of the retirement planning equation have different benefits and are better suited to some individuals than others. To understand which parts are more ideal for your planning, it’s important to understand how different plans work.

Today, we’re going to talk to advisor Paul Sorenson about nonqualified deferred compensation (NQDC) plans. He’ll tell us some of the important items to consider when looking at NQDC plans and how they might fit into an existing retirement plan.

What are NQDC plans?

Nonqualified deferred compensation plans (NQDC) are offered by employers to employees to set aside tax-deferred compensation to be paid out at a later date. For employees who maximize contributions to their current employer-sponsored retirement plans like a 401(k) or 403(b) an NQDC represents an opportunity to save more for a future goal or retirement in a tax-deferred manner. Not all employees have the chance to participate in an NQDC plan but if you have the opportunity, it may be worth looking into this benefit a look to see if it might have a place as a part of your financial plan.

Unlike other qualified employer-sponsored plans, such as a 401(k) or 403 (b), NQDC plans usually allow you to defer receiving a portion of your compensation over and above what is allowed into a qualified plan. When you elect to participate, you choose how much to defer to the plan and your employer then segregates the chosen potion of your salary into a trust which is invested on your behalf. Since the compensation is not paid to the employee currently it is not taxed until some future date when it is actually paid out to the employee. 

There are many reasons employers offer NQDC plans but among the most common are their ability to help retain and attract talented employees as well as helping high-earning employees save enough of their current compensation to meet future needs. Typically high-earning employees are unable to save enough in a pre-tax 401k or 403b account to meet their retirement goals in full.

NQDC participation: Some important items to consider

NQDC plans can vary widely depending on what your employer offers but here are general items to think about:

  1. Do I currently contribute the maximum to my current employer-sponsored qualified plan such as a 403(b) or 401k? If you do not maximize contributions to your qualified accounts, you may want to consider this option first, since these plans are tax-deferred and protected under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).
  2. Do I believe my employer is financially secure? Should your employer fall into bankruptcy, the funds in NQDC plans might be accessible to the organization’s creditors which could mean your deferred compensation might not be paid.
  3. Can I afford to set aside a portion of my compensation knowing that I won’t be able to access it until a date in the future? NQDC plans do not have loan provisions like other employer-sponsored plans, so accessing the compensation which has been set aside is not an option prior to the distribution date that has been set.
  4. How does participation in an NQDC plan fit with the rest of my financial plan? Every NQDC plan is different so it is important to understand the distribution options, investment options, vesting options and service requirements available to you and along with the risks. Once you understand these risks these details the NQDC should become a part of your full financial plan. 

Every NQDC plan is different and it is important to understand the details and risks of your employer’s plan before choosing to participate. For many, NQDC plans present a possible option to ramp up their savings for the future, but for others investing in accounts outside of their place of employment or combining multiple savings vehicles might be a better option.

No matter what you decide, working with a financial professional, like a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, who can help you understand the options and set a strategy to pursue your needs, wants and wishes for today and well into the future is a good place to start.

If you are trying to understand how an NQDC plan might fit into your financial picture or are just ready to get started with a well thought out financial plan, contact Paul Sorenson at Puckett & Sturgill Financial group today!

This material was created for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as ERISA, tax, legal or investment advice. If you are seeking investment advice specific to your needs, such advice services must be obtained on your own separate from this educational material. 

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.