The True Value of a Financial Plan

By Caleb Brond, Paraplanner

As many people do not know me yet, please allow me to informally introduce myself. My name is Caleb Brond and I graduated from Kansas State University with my degree in Personal Financial Planning in May of 2020. Through my education at Kansas State, I was trained on the many facets of financial planning and how they intertwine with one another. During my time at K-State, I gained priceless knowledge about the profession and a great passion for helping others with one of the most difficult aspects of their life.

The Importance of Long-Term Financial Goals

Some might argue that long-term financial goals are necessary for your financial success. Personally, I have seen that a lot of long-term financial goals are not quite as specific as many people think, but rather ideas for what you would like your future to look like. Life is an ever‐changing adventure, so why would you get a financial plan that doesn’t adapt with you?

A strategy that once made sense when you were in your 30s and 40s may not make sense when you are in your late 50s or early 60s and staring at the reality that you may retire within the next few years.

Shifting a Plan with Shifting Priorities

As you get older, your priorities will shift. If you have a family and are raising children, your priorities may lie with providing for them and saving what you can for retirement. Whereas, once you become “empty nesters,” your priorities may shift to saving more money for your retirement.

As someone who does not know what he wants for dinner most nights until I see what’s in my pantry, why should I be expected to know exactly what I want in 30 or 40 years? Don’t get me wrong – goals are great to have, but many people spend their money in retirement before they even retire.

A true financial plan should account for changes in your life and be an ongoing process; people change, so why would your plan not change? A financial plan is not a product, it’s a process.

Guidance from Your Financial Advisor

Your financial advisor should be someone with whom you feel comfortable calling for any major life decision, whether it be buying a new house, taking a new job, remodeling your home, etc. You should not just be waiting for a call from your advisor once a year to hear about the performance of your investments. Your relationship with your advisor should be all about you and your life.

Investing vs. Financial Planning 

Some people think that investing is financial planning, and while that’s not entirely false, investing is only a piece of the pie. In order to invest money, your financial plan should be accounting for tax strategies, any estate needs, risk tolerance, your budget and your monetary sensitivity.

I do not believe you can just invest your money with a firm without them first looking over these several items, because each of these “pieces of the pie” plays a huge factor in your life. This is where the true value of a financial plan is, with properly looking at every aspect of your life and including it in your plan.

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