What is Financial Planning?
At Fisher Investments, we believe in a holistic approach to reach your long-term investment objectives. For many investors, achieving these long-term investment goals requires a personalized financial plan built specifically to help you succeed. This plan should address your individual needs and help you avoid common pitfalls. But before creating a personalized financial plan, investors should understand what financial planning is.
Financial planning is more than just setting a budget, evaluating your assets or planning your estate—it is a broad evaluation of your current and future financial pictures.
The Primary Components of Financial Planning
What things should you consider when crafting your financial plan? Broadly speaking, financial planning comprises evaluating your net worth, weighing assets (cash, equities, real estate) against liabilities (mortgages, auto loans, credit cards, other debt), your current cash flow (budget) situation and your short- and long-term financial goals. In addition to those commonly discussed components, we believe a successful plan also includes these factors:
- Tax planning and considerations
- Income and expense timelines
- Financial security and income goals
- Legacy and charitable giving
- Estate planning advice for establishing your will, trust and power of attorney
- Personalized investment recommendations, including asset allocation and risk tolerance considerations
- Capital gains and required minimum distributions (RMD) guidance
- Social Security benefit optimization
- Perspective on annuities, life insurance and long-term care insurance
- Consideration of potential big life events (retirement, inheritance, divorce, medical emergencies, death, etc.)
- Access to professional resources
Attention to detail is important when building a financial plan. It is better to have a wide array of components in your financial plan, versus a narrow, primarily budget-centric approach. Accounting for the many potentially impactful parts of your financial future should help you stay on track to meet your financial goals.
Another important component of financial planning is the necessity to review your financial plan and financial situation at least annually. Keeping abreast of your finances is critical to helping to ensure you reach your financial goals.
Avoiding Pitfalls in Financial Planning
Throughout the financial planning process, it’s easy to make mistakes that can seriously impact your long-term financial well-being. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:
- Planning for your financial security based on improper goal-setting
- Underestimating the complexity of estate planning
- Failing to determine an effective tax strategy for your cash flow needs
- Ignoring the impact of capital gains and losses
- Underestimating how long you’ll need your assets to work for you
- Disregarding Social Security
- Relying too heavily on annuities for income in retirement
- Purchasing insurance products to cover future income gaps without considering alternatives
- Not hiring the right professionals to assist you
Is a Professional Financial Planner Right For Me?
Whether you’re an expert in finance or new to financial planning, it can be beneficial to consider consulting a professional, certified financial planner or financial adviser. Working with a professional financial adviser can help you avoid potential mistakes in your financial planning process. A good financial planner or financial adviser can provide financial advice and help create a personalized financial plan that allows you to reach your financial goals.
Financial planners and financial advisers can also provide a broad spectrum of financial planning education or help address finance questions. When searching for a financial adviser, we believe you should look for a professional who places your needs first—not their own.
How Fisher is Different
Our financial planning services are based on your goals. Some financial firms may focus on selling life insurance and annuities to generate valuable commissions for themselves. We work with you to determine the necessary steps to help you reach your financial goals—not sell products for a commission. We learn about your entire financial picture and seek to understand your financial goals and objectives.
When you work with us:
- Your portfolio will be structured to help you reach your long-term financial goals, taking into account your investment objectives, time horizon, cash flow needs and other factors specific to you.
- You receive proactive service from your Investment Counselor, who will keep you up-to-date on our forward-looking market outlook and your portfolio.
- You have the opportunity to interact with the people making investment decisions through client programs, including exclusive in-person events.
- You can take advantage of global investing opportunities with our significant experience investing domestically and overseas.
- You won’t be limited to a single style of investing (like growth or value), because we can shift our strategy based on our forward-looking view of market conditions.
- You will have competitive, transparent and easy-to-understand fees that align our interests with yours.
We believe that our team here at Fisher Investments can help build you a more secure financial future, and taking advantage of our financial planning service is a great first step. You can request an initial meeting with your local representative by either completing our form or calling us at (800) 568-5082 for a complimentary portfolio evaluation. We look forward to hearing from you.
See Our Investment Guides
The world of investing can seem like a giant maze. Fisher Investments has developed several informational and educational guides tackling a variety of investing topics.