If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that the future is unpredictable. As much as we like to think that life will generally move along as expected, the chances of a wrench being thrown into the mix are not unfathomable. So, how do you prepare when you don’t know what to expect? A financial plan is one way of ensuring that you’re ready for the next fork in the road and have options available to you if that time comes.
What is a financial plan?
A financial plan is a comprehensive overview of your finances: your income, your savings, any debt you may have, insurance, investments, and any other financial aspects of your life.
This written document outlines your current financial situation and your goals – whether that’s moving into a new home, purchasing another vehicle, or retiring to Mexico – as well as any strategies you have in place to make those goals a reality.
“We’re an extension of your advisory team, such as your lawyer or accountant, and I think collaboration with that group is extremely important.”
– Rhonda Oakden, Manager of Financial Planning
With the help of one of Westoba’s Financial Solutions planners, your financial plan will outline the major elements of your financial picture, including:
- Your objectives: to be clear about what you want to achieve financially.
- Your savings and debt management: listing all your assets and liabilities as well as monthly flow of money to provides a complete financial picture to be sure you’re maximizing your potential savings.
- Your potential risks: planning ahead means identifying potential weaknesses in your financial situation
- Your retirement and education plans: have you started to put money aside for these yet?
Financial planning is more than budgeting, saving or creating the perfect investment strategy. Your financial plan is developed together with your advisor and should be reviewed annually or during any major life changes. It’s personalized to you and designed as a road map to get you to your goals by a certain point in time, while providing additional recommendations and projections for your future.
Those recommendations could include getting a life insurance quote, making online investments, or hiring outside professionals like a lawyer or accountant. As Rhonda Oakden, our Manager of Westoba Financial Solutions says, “We’re an extension of your advisory team, such as your lawyer or accountant, and I think collaboration with that group is extremely important.”
What are the benefits of a financial plan?
Planning ahead, whether it’s for something as simple as a road trip or something more involved like your financial future, is always a good bet. Financial planning means that you are less likely to be met with obstacles you can’t manage or challenges you can’t meet. Working with a professional, like one of our Financial Solutions Team members, means that you can collaborate alongside an advisor who is committed to building a trusting relationship with you.
A Financial Planner – whether they are a CFP (Certified Financial Planner), QAFP™ (Qualified Associate Financial Planner), or PFP (Professional Financial Planner) – has the proven knowledge, skills, experience, and ethics to provide you with personalized advice from a holistic standpoint, simplifying the process for you so that it’s not overwhelming.
One of the biggest benefits of a financial plan is growing your income and cash flow. A Financial Planner can identify areas of your financial picture that can be adjusted and tweaked – such as maximizing your tax return – so that you’re capitalizing on your income and expenses.
A financial plan will help you to achieve your long-term and retirement goals. Your Financial Planner can ensure that you’re not making unintentional mistakes now that could cost you your retirement down the road.
“You’ll better be able to pinpoint the mistakes you may be making and bring your spending in line with your goals when you have your financial map laid out in front of you.”
Better understanding your financial picture means that you not only know where you stand but can map out your future and protect your family along the way. The more you know about your financial situation, the better you can adjust when life throws you curveballs. A plan gives you a means by which to measure your progress, so you’ll know that you’re staying on the right track.
Your Financial Planner will also help you to assess your risks – including those you may not have considered – and make recommendations based on those risks, like online investments or mutual funds. You’ll better be able to pinpoint the mistakes you may be making and bring your spending in line with your goals when you have your financial map laid out in front of you.
Finally, a financial plan gives you confidence in your money. The only way to build wealth, live more comfortably, and save more for your future is through developing a plan – it doesn’t happen by accident! Having a roadmap that you understand and are confident in is the key to financial freedom.
Who benefits from a financial plan?
A financial plan is helpful whether you’re raising a family, nearing the end of your career, or interested in succession planning for your business. There’s nobody too young or old to start planning! Meeting one-on-one (in person or virtually) with a Financial Planner will help you get a better understanding of your financial status. “The first step is having a conversation with a planner, articulating your goals and coming up with a plan of action that meets your needs,” Rhonda Oakden says.
Rhonda and her team provide advice and counsel in planning areas such as life insurance, retirement savings, group benefits, or education savings, as well as get advice on pension or investment management decisions. Your Financial Planner can help you explore mutual funds, tax-free savings accounts, or online investments and together decide which is right for you.
“We can offer and provide a sense of security and reduce that stress and anxiety that can come with financial health,” Rhonda explains. “It’s being a sounding board for members to walk them through a scenario or a problem and offer solutions.” Westoba’s Planners offers a trusted relationship and professional advice to help you make decisions based on your own needs, at every stage of your life.
“Whether you’re making a career change or looking out for the next generation, experienced financial advice can help you balance your financial priorities in collaboration with other professionals that you rely on such as your Financial Consultant, Lender, Business Account Manager, tax specialist, or legal counsel,” Rhonda says. “We can provide you with the essentials you need to feel confident in asking questions and making informed decisions.”
If you’re interested in learning more about the options available to you or if you have specific questions about your financial wellness, call 1-877-WESTOBA to make an appointment with our team or email below. We’re mobile and will meet wherever you like! We believe in making the process as simple as possible.