Why you need a financial plan
The straightforward advice Alice received in Wonderland –"if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there" – could have been written for 21st Century families pondering their finances. If you don’t have a financial plan, how can you hope to achieve your goals?
Just what are your goals? Getting the kids through college without a crushing debt? The perfect weddings for your kids? A second home for family getaways? The wherewithal to launch the business you’ve always dreamed of? A worry-free retirement? A legacy for your heirs? All of the above?
Do you have any idea what it will take to accomplish such things? Truth be told: Few of us do. And that’s not surprising when you think of all pieces of this puzzle. Tax planning. Investment planning. Estate planning. Just to name a few.
Think about just one goal: A secure retirement. Getting there demands not only setting aside money—and a lot of it—but also understanding the best ways to mesh various cogs: a 401(k), Social Security, individual retirement accounts, annuities. And, speaking of IRAs, should you choose a traditional account or a Roth?
The choices can seem overwhelming, particularly when money is a sensitive subject in some households. But help is available, as more and more Americans are discovering. At Kiplinger, we’ve been offering personal finance money advice for over 65 years. And we fully understand that in many cases, you need more help than you can get by reading a story or watching a video. You need a sit down with a professional financial planner who can help you cut through the haze of emotions, prioritize your goals and draw up a roadmap for getting from here to there.
Putting together a sound financial plan is indeed the first and most important step toward reaching your goals.