FPA, CFP Board Open 2019 Financial Planning Challenge for Undergrads

(Image: Shutterstock)

The Financial Planning Association, Ameriprise Financial and the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards on Thursday invited undergraduate students from CFP Board-registered universities to sign up for the 2019 Financial Planning Challenge.

The challenge is a three-stage competition designed to engage students and academic advisors in the financial planning community, raise awareness around career opportunities, and encourage students to learn and connect with financial planning professionals.

Students have until May 24 to register.

For their participation in the challenge, students can receive up to 80 hours of CFP continuing education credit toward their experience requirement leading to certification.

“As the professional home for financial planners, FPA is committed to helping members achieve professional excellence to boost their careers to the next level,” FPA executive director and chief executive Lauren Schadle said in a statement.

“The Financial Planning Challenge is an amazing opportunity for the next generation of financial planners to deepen their financial planning skill set, demonstrate their knowledge and expertise, and become a rising star in the profession.”

Eight student teams will advance to the competition’s final stage at the FPA Annual Conference 2019, which will take place Oct. 16 to 18 in Minneapolis. The teams will demonstrate their knowledge of the CFP Board Financial Plan Development Course requirement, and interact with practitioners and thought leaders from around the world.

Besides earning CFP CE credit, finalists will also be awarded a complimentary one-year FPA membership, and the top three teams will receive a monetary scholarship for their schools.

The competition criteria were developed in part to illustrate potential avenues for satisfying the CFP Board Financial Plan Development Course requirements for both students and faculty, according to the statement.

— Check out CFP Board Releases Career Best Practices Guide on ThinkAdvisor.

How to Win Over the Reluctant Financial Planning Client

Many clients are too scared or embarrassed to lay their whole financial lives on the table.

As a fundamental part of our transformation to a wealth management firm, my company recently began to offer financial planning services. From numerous conversations with clients, we had learned that most acknowledge financial planning is important, but very few have done it in any meaningful capacity. Something had prevented them from doing it: the fear of unpleasant discovery, the shame of copping to one’s procrastination, the embarrassment of discussing taboo topics, or a combination of these and other reasons. Whatever the cause, their resistance to do it was palpable.

Most people who have done substantial financial planning did so principally in response to a crisis. They encountered something scary that required immediate attention. Perhaps a spouse had become gravely ill, and the couple had not yet done sufficient estate planning. Or maybe a single parent had learned that his teenager was accepted to a prestigious university, and the parent had no idea how to finance four very expensive years of education.

The reactive nature of people presents a fundamental challenge for the financial advisor/planner. A critical part of my job is to help clients untangle their web of concerns so that they can see them clearly in terms of their level of importance and urgency. This requires me to be very forward-thinking, looking not just at the present but also months, years, even decades down the road.

But what is an advisor to do when clients refuse to do any financial planning unless the work is viewed as both important and urgent? How do we encourage clients to abandon their myopic ways and adopt more long-term strategic thinking and behavior?

A Future ‘Crisis’ Today

Although I would never knowingly manufacture a crisis for clients, I do see the benefit in identifying one or two key elements of a client’s life to reframe as an inevitable financial challenge as a “problem” to be solved by financial planning. Too often clients with young children put off a conversation about financing higher education because the matter seems too far in the future. It’s not considered a problem; affording diapers and day care is. That short-sighted thinking is a mistake. New parents need the cold, hard facts about education costs so that they will address the problem and become early adopters of a workable solution: a very long runway of intentional saving, investment, patience, and faith (in the power of compounding).

Simple Savings

Clients and prospects alike are often skeptical of the monetary benefit of financial planning. One way to overcome their doubt is to perform a simple cost-cutting exercise. A short conversation about an individual’s spending habits may reveal obvious opportunities to cut expenses, “low-hanging fruit” savings that can be diverted to financing something the individual has long desired — perhaps a modest vacation or luxury item. If a skeptic receives a tangible reward for a relatively painless modification in spending behavior, she may be more likely to entertain a review of her comprehensive financial picture.

A Gift to Loved Ones

I like to tell clients that they should view financial planning as a gift to loved ones. Why? Clients will act much more quickly when financial planning is presented in the context of the financial health and stability of dependents and other loved ones. Sharing my own experiences has also helped tremendously. I will often cite my father’s passing and my cancer diagnosis, spinning those narratives in such a way to include the perspectives of my mother and wife so that clients understand that my planning decisions were never made in a vacuum — they were specifically structured to benefit my loved ones, not just me. A message of care is sure to resonate with clients and get them thinking more proactively about financial planning.

The Future Is Brighter

Perhaps the most difficult clients to win over are the carefree ones, those who love to live in the moment. These clients tend to be spendthrifts, and their loose spending behavior only makes their need for financial planning that much greater. The good news is these clients are often idealists, and advisors can use their optimism to argue the merits of financial planning. Bigger and better is just around the corner … if these clients will incorporate a little planning, delayed consumption, and simple risk management into their everyday lives.

The goal is to do this as seamlessly and non-obtrusively as possible. These clients won’t bite if they think their adventurous lives will be disrupted by a written document. Advisors/planners can utilize simple, “behind-the-scenes” financial tools like automated retirement contributions, cash-back credit cards, and insurance policy reward provisions that, over the long term, will return great value to clients even though they may not be fully aware of the accruing benefits.

As financial advisors, we need to encourage clients to address important issues before they become urgent. Reframing topics as solvable problems, presenting easy cost-cutting wins, addressing the needs of loved ones, and adjusting our methods to suit challenging personality types can be powerful techniques to move reluctant clients in a more prosperous direction.


Joel M. Roberts, CFP, RICP, is the chief operating officer of J.P. Marvel Wealth Management Inc., a wealth management firm based in Boston.

CFP Board Opens 2019 Financial Planning Challenge for Undergrads

(Image: Shutterstock)

The Financial Planning Association, Ameriprise Financial and the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards on Thursday invited undergraduate students from CFP Board-registered universities to sign up for the 2019 Financial Planning Challenge.

The challenge is a three-stage competition designed to engage students and academic advisors in the financial planning community, raise awareness around career opportunities, and encourage students to learn and connect with financial planning professionals.

Students have until May 24 to register.

For their participation in the challenge, students can receive up to 80 hours of CFP continuing education credit toward their experience requirement leading to certification.

“As the professional home for financial planners, FPA is committed to helping members achieve professional excellence to boost their careers to the next level,” FPA executive director and chief executive Lauren Schadle said in a statement.

“The Financial Planning Challenge is an amazing opportunity for the next generation of financial planners to deepen their financial planning skill set, demonstrate their knowledge and expertise, and become a rising star in the profession.”

Eight student teams will advance to the competition’s final stage at the FPA Annual Conference 2019, which will take place Oct. 16 to 18 in Minneapolis. The teams will demonstrate their knowledge of the CFP Board Financial Plan Development Course requirement, and interact with practitioners and thought leaders from around the world.

Besides earning CFP CE credit, finalists will also be awarded a complimentary one-year FPA membership, and the top three teams will receive a monetary scholarship for their schools.

The competition criteria were developed in part to illustrate potential avenues for satisfying the CFP Board Financial Plan Development Course requirements for both students and faculty, according to the statement.

— Check out CFP Board Releases Career Best Practices Guide on ThinkAdvisor.

How to Conquer the Fear of Financial Planning

Many clients are too scared or embarrassed to lay their whole financial lives on the table.

As a fundamental part of our transformation to a wealth management firm, my company recently began to offer financial planning services. From numerous conversations with clients, we had learned that most acknowledge financial planning is important, but very few have done it in any meaningful capacity. Something had prevented them from doing it: the fear of unpleasant discovery, the shame of copping to one’s procrastination, the embarrassment of discussing taboo topics, or a combination of these and other reasons. Whatever the cause, their resistance to do it was palpable.

Most people who have done substantial financial planning did so principally in response to a crisis. They encountered something scary that required immediate attention. Perhaps a spouse had become gravely ill, and the couple had not yet done sufficient estate planning. Or maybe a single parent had learned that his teenager was accepted to a prestigious university, and the parent had no idea how to finance four very expensive years of education.

The reactive nature of people presents a fundamental challenge for the financial advisor/planner. A critical part of my job is to help clients untangle their web of concerns so that they can see them clearly in terms of their level of importance and urgency. This requires me to be very forward-thinking, looking not just at the present but also months, years, even decades down the road.

But what is an advisor to do when clients refuse to do any financial planning unless the work is viewed as both important and urgent? How do we encourage clients to abandon their myopic ways and adopt more long-term strategic thinking and behavior?

A Future ‘Crisis’ Today

Although I would never knowingly manufacture a crisis for clients, I do see the benefit in identifying one or two key elements of a client’s life to reframe as an inevitable financial challenge as a “problem” to be solved by financial planning. Too often clients with young children put off a conversation about financing higher education because the matter seems too far in the future. It’s not considered a problem; affording diapers and day care is. That short-sighted thinking is a mistake. New parents need the cold, hard facts about education costs so that they will address the problem and become early adopters of a workable solution: a very long runway of intentional saving, investment, patience, and faith (in the power of compounding).

Simple Savings

Clients and prospects alike are often skeptical of the monetary benefit of financial planning. One way to overcome their doubt is to perform a simple cost-cutting exercise. A short conversation about an individual’s spending habits may reveal obvious opportunities to cut expenses, “low-hanging fruit” savings that can be diverted to financing something the individual has long desired — perhaps a modest vacation or luxury item. If a skeptic receives a tangible reward for a relatively painless modification in spending behavior, she may be more likely to entertain a review of her comprehensive financial picture.

A Gift to Loved Ones

I like to tell clients that they should view financial planning as a gift to loved ones. Why? Clients will act much more quickly when financial planning is presented in the context of the financial health and stability of dependents and other loved ones. Sharing my own experiences has also helped tremendously. I will often cite my father’s passing and my cancer diagnosis, spinning those narratives in such a way to include the perspectives of my mother and wife so that clients understand that my planning decisions were never made in a vacuum — they were specifically structured to benefit my loved ones, not just me. A message of care is sure to resonate with clients and get them thinking more proactively about financial planning.

The Future Is Brighter

Perhaps the most difficult clients to win over are the carefree ones, those who love to live in the moment. These clients tend to be spendthrifts, and their loose spending behavior only makes their need for financial planning that much greater. The good news is these clients are often idealists, and advisors can use their optimism to argue the merits of financial planning. Bigger and better is just around the corner … if these clients will incorporate a little planning, delayed consumption, and simple risk management into their everyday lives.

The goal is to do this as seamlessly and non-obtrusively as possible. These clients won’t bite if they think their adventurous lives will be disrupted by a written document. Advisors/planners can utilize simple, “behind-the-scenes” financial tools like automated retirement contributions, cash-back credit cards, and insurance policy reward provisions that, over the long term, will return great value to clients even though they may not be fully aware of the accruing benefits.

As financial advisors, we need to encourage clients to address important issues before they become urgent. Reframing topics as solvable problems, presenting easy cost-cutting wins, addressing the needs of loved ones, and adjusting our methods to suit challenging personality types can be powerful techniques to move reluctant clients in a more prosperous direction.


Joel M. Roberts, CFP, RICP, is the chief operating officer of J.P. Marvel Wealth Management Inc., a wealth management firm based in Boston.

How to budget money: Financial planners use ‘buckets’ and auto-save

Budgeting shouldn’t be scary.

It’s just a decidedly unfashionable term for organizing your money in a way that helps you cover expenses, avoid consumer debt, and save a portion of your income to fund whatever goals you’re working toward.

To make it all less confusing to keep track of, three financial planners told Business Insider they use a method called “bucketing.”

Luis Rosa, a CFP who founded the financial-planning firm Build a Better Financial Future, said you can start off by making a list of your fixed expenses, including housing costs and other recurring monthly payments, and variable expenses. Rosa suggests including savings in your expenses column. Then put “goal-specific money” — think: funds for a vacation, wedding, or down payment on a house — in various “buckets.”

“By breaking them up into different accounts or buckets, you get to keep better track than if you lump all the money together,” Rosa said.

Setting up the buckets is step one. Step two is figuring out how much you can afford to contribute to each goal and then set up automatic transfers from your paycheck or another, more general savings account into that “bucket.”

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There’s something to be said for separating savings into a different bank account, or even several. I opened an Ally account a few years ago with a small initial deposit strictly to build up my emergency fund. After a year of automatic contributions, my account balance nearly doubled. Since my checking account lives at a different bank, I was rarely tempted to dip into my emergency fund. Out of sight, out of mind.

Anjali Jariwala, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant at Fit Advisors, told Business Insider she also sets up automatic monthly contributions to different “cash buckets,” either a checking or high-yield savings accounts, to fund different goals.

Andrew Westlin, a CFP at Betterment, said bucketing money into different accounts helps him “clearly see what portion of my assets will be used for each objective — my emergency fund, retirement, and money set aside for a sabbatical in a few years.”

Westlin added: “I’m not an obsessive planner, so I even like to put extra money each month into a ‘just because’ bucket — I could use it for anything, and that freedom is exciting for me.”

Rosa said he likes bucketing because it makes tracking savings progress even easier.

“This also helps with the motivational aspect of staying the course,” Rosa said. “Some days when you ask yourself ‘Why am I working so hard?’ you can see how much progress you’ve made toward a future goal and it reinforces the behavior. You’re more likely to stick to your goals if you can track its progress.”

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Steven Merrell, Financial Planning: Getting out early

Sometimes life doesn’t turn out as we expect. A friend of mine lost her job last year after more than 20 years at the same company. She felt confident that her experience would allow her to find a job quickly. She soon discovered, however, that finding work as a 57-year-old was harder than she imagined. As the months stretched out and her liquid savings dwindled, she realized she needed to reconsider her financial plans. In particular, she needed to rethink how she was going to use her retirement accounts.

My friend’s situation is not uncommon. More and more people in their mid- to late-50s are finding themselves out of work. Often, they don’t want to leave their communities, so the pool of potential jobs is narrow and shallow. As the job search stretches out, they get frustrated and disheartened. Sometimes they give up and decide to retire early.

If you find yourself in this situation, it is vital that you do some careful financial planning. If you don’t have a plan, find a planner you can trust. If you already have a plan, take the time to do a thorough update.

One of the areas you will want to look at is how you will use your retirement accounts. You probably already know that IRA withdrawals before age 59½ are subject to a 10% penalty tax on top of the normal taxes you will pay on withdrawals. But there are some important exceptions to this rule.

For example, participants in employer-sponsored defined contribution plans can invoke the Rule of 55. This rule states that employees who are laid off, fired or who quit their jobs between age 55 and 59 ½ can withdraw money from their company’s 401(k) or 403(b) plan without any penalty. A couple of caveats apply.

First, this rule applies only to your most recent employer’s plan. Any money left in previous employer-sponsored plans will continue to be subject to the 59½ rule.

Second, this rule applies only if you leave your job during the calendar year in which you turn 55 or later. If you leave when you are 54, you lose the Rule of 55 option and you will have to wait until you turn 59½.

Your plan may impose other limitations on the Rule of 55. For example, some plans do not allow partial withdrawals. Check with your plan administrator to see how the Rule of 55 works for your plan.

Another exception to early withdrawal penalties is something called Section 72(t) withdrawals, also known as “substantially equal periodic payments.” These distributions are governed by some very tricky rules, so getting professional help is a very good idea. If you violate the rules, you will incur severe penalties. Here are some key rules to keep in mind:

• Revenue Ruling 2002-62 lists three methods you may use for determining your Section 72(t) payments: the required minimum distribution method, the amortization method and the annuitization method. We can’t go into the nuances of each method here, so get some help figuring out which method is best for you.

• Once you begin taking 72(t) distributions, they must continue for five years or until you reach age 59½, whichever is longer, unless you die or become disabled.

• The 72(t) is applicable only to the account for which you calculated your payment. If you take money from a different retirement account, it will be subject to the 10% penalty.

• Once you start 72(t) distributions, you cannot modify the payment schedule. This includes adding to the account or taking extra distribution. If you do, you will void the agreement and the IRS will come after its 10% penalty on all distributions you have taken prior to age 59½.

Steven C. Merrell is an investment adviser and partner at Monterey Private Wealth Inc., in Monterey. Send questions concerning investing, taxes, retirement or estate planning to Steve Merrell, 2340 Garden Road Suite 202, Monterey 93940 or steve@montereypw.com.

FPA to take OneFPA transition slowly

Not only is the FPA slowing the integration process of its ambitious OneFPA program, but it could scrap the plan altogether if member comments and planned beta tests indicate it seems unworkable, according to FPA President Evelyn Zohlen.

Last year’s dramatic proposal to roll up all 86 of its chapters, plus two state councils in California and Florida, into one legal entity was succinct to the point of blitheness, accompanied by scant input from chapters and fast-tracked for implementation — to the perplexity of some. It was originally proposed to take place in barely over a year, by 2020.

You have nothing to fear, one FPA leader reassured chapter leaders at the time.

FPA President Evelyn Zohlen has been engaging critics as she seeks a more integrated future for the FPA’s national office and its 86 chapters.

To some, the plan was seemingly unilaterally conceived out of the FPA’s Denver headquarters, which did not go over well with many large, long-established and functionally autonomous chapters around the country.

“Local chapters are concerned about not having much of a say anymore about their chapters after the nationalization,” says Danqin “Kristin” Fang, a CFP with Evensky Katz/Foldes Financial Wealth Management in Coral Gables, Florida, and a member of her local FPA chapter in Miami.

In response, this week the FPA announced it is slowing the integration process to obtain greater input from members and to run beta tests with volunteer chapters. If these measures ultimately indicate integration is ill-advised, the whole concept could be abandoned, Zohlen told Financial Planning in an interview.

“Our ultimate goal is to create a kick-ass membership association that elevates our members and the profession,” Zohlen said. “But if it turns out that, from the feedback from our leaders or our members, that it’s not the right course or, through testing, that, ‘Well, that was a noble idea that won’t work,’ then we will set that down and we will move on.”

For now the FPA has abandoned plans to roll up all chapters into one legal entity, a cornerstone of the original plan. “It doesn’t feel comfortable relinquishing our separate legal entities at this time,” Zohlen says.

Between now and May 30, the association has opened up a comment period to gather more feedback.

Response to the FPA’s first proposal was scathing from some quarters. Bob Veres, publisher of Inside Information and a Financial Planning columnist, wondered if the chapters would be better off seceding from the national body as chapters drive the greatest value for members. Michael Kitces, co-founder of XY Planning Network, suggested chapters could donate all their funds to other nonprofits in lieu of having them appropriated by Denver. Kitces is also a Financial Planning contributor.

“How many consecutive years must the FPA fail to grow before the national board in its fiduciary role acknowledges that just maybe the chapters aren’t to blame, but leadership is?” Kitces asked in a column. He pointed out that while other industry nonprofits have steadily grown their membership, the current FPA leadership has overseen a decline: Numbers have dropped to 23,000 today from from 28,000 in 2007, according to FPA spokesman Ben Lewis.

Concerns about a rollup were further stoked by the FPA’s unprecedented decision last year to suddenly dissolve its relationship with the FPA of New York — arguably its highest-profile chapter — and create a replacement chapter, wholly controlled out of Denver. The move followed allegations of fiduciary breaches by that chapter’s leadership.

A better-integrated FPA leadership nationwide, Zohlen says, would help avert a repeat of the kinds of problems that beset New York. Furthermore, she says, the right integration process — with the full support of chapters — would help the FPA increase its membership.

That’s a job that has to be undertaken at both the national and local levels, Zohlen says.

ON SECOND THOUGHTS

FPA national has been in communication with Kitces and Veres since they launched their critiques, Zohlen says.

“Our stakeholders, including Michael and Bob, are very passionate about our profession and, in both of their ways, they care immensely about financial planners having a strong and thriving membership represent them in their work,” she says.

Zohlen points out that, during a recently concluded four-month “listening tour,” in which 90% of chapters participated, “I did not even once have a chapter leader suggest seceding or donating chapter funds.”

That said, the controversy got people talking about transforming the FPA, which has been positive, according to Zohlen.

The FPA wants up to 10 chapters to volunteer to participate in an integration beta test, set to start Jan. 1. For a two-year period, the chapters would experiment with turning different functions over to the national office in return for certain benefits. “We may have centralized staffing,” Zohlen says, with “chapter executives being employees of FPA, with performance still being controlled by the chapters.”

There’s a lot to consider, says Fang, who attended the November chapter leaders conference in Denver, when the first version of OneFPA was announced.

“The challenge,” she says, “is that each local chapter has developed disproportional partnership relationships with various companies in the industry.” Given that, Fang wonders, how would a national rollup impact those alliances?

Tailored solutions

Though improved technological tools and streamlined operational functions could benefit chapters, some chapter leaders wonder if the national body would be able to manage them effectively, Fang says. For one thing, chapters’ computer systems are “tailored and customized to their own chapter needs and characteristics.”

For integration to work, FPA’s national body “has to provide a crystal clear structured vision and roadmap” for the chapters to support the plan, Fang says.

That, says Zohlen, is what FPA plans to create via its slower plan.

“The intent is absolutely not to do some diametric power shift to national, but to unite us more on the path that we are walking,” Zohlen says.

In reviewing the new OneFPA changes, Veres wrote in his most recent blog post: “In general, I think this is a much better proposal than the initial one and I also think this time around the FPA is being much more transparent about what it’s trying to do.” But given the FPA’s historical eagerness to push chapters to relinquish their independence, he writes that local chapters should continue to be skeptical and vigilant about the national office’s “vast, ambitious and slightly creepy overreach.”


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How financial advisors engage HNW children

Financial advisors who aren’t building relationships with their clients’ kids are taking a huge risk: Losing a chunk of their business.

The industry is approaching a $30 trillion wealth transfer, and financial planners need to make sure they are ready for it. By engaging the rest of the family, advisors can take steps to guarantee that their HNW assets won’t be moved elsewhere when a client passes away.

From family vacation funds to stock-picking games, here are some tips on how to start getting to know your HNW clients’ children now, before it’s too late:

Navigating The Gray Areas Of Financial Planning

Have you ever heard a financial “rule of thumb”? We hear these phrases often, and they’re usually accepted as the only way to make financial decisions.

However, as a financial planner I can confidently tell you: these “rules of thumb” that everyone abides by? They’re often not the best path available for your unique situation. That’s not to say these personal finance building blocks don’t have merit – they often do! But the problem with these over-generalized rules is that they don’t take into account the many gray areas of your financial life.

Today I want to go over a few common financial rules of thumb that I hear often, why they may not actually work in practice for you and your family, and what you can do instead.

What “Rules of Thumb” Do We Hear Often?

There are several common financial “rules” that a lot of financial experts tout as the end-all-be-all method for building a financial plan. All of these rules are created and promoted with the best of intentions. There’s nothing about these rules that are technically wrong – they’re a good baseline idea to follow. Let’s take a look at a few of the most popular financial rules that seem to recur in conversations with clients:

10% Rule (Car Buying)

Are you car shopping? You may have heard the 10% rule, which states that your total car purchase shouldn’t exceed 10% of your total income (including purchase price, insurance, interest, etc.). While this rule is based in truth (you should never purchase a vehicle that’s above and beyond what you can feasibly afford), it also doesn’t account for cash savings.

Many people, especially as they approach retirement, have saved a good deal of cash that’s specifically earmarked to buy the car of their dreams. If you’re not driving yourself into debt to purchase a vehicle, and have exhibited patience as you save up to purchase it in full, the purchase becomes a question of whether or not the new vehicle will make you feel fulfilled – not whether or not it’s 10% or less of your total income.

Save 15% Toward Retirement

This is a great rule of thumb – as a baseline. In short, it states that you should work to save 15% of your pre-tax income toward retirement each year. However, there are many times that you may be ahead in saving for retirement, or behind. This might mean you need to save less (or more!) than the traditional “15%” rule requires.

Deferring Taxes When Saving for Retirement Is Preferred

Using a 401k, Traditional IRA, or other tax-deferred retirement account can be helpful to reduce your current taxable income and save for retirement. However, if you think that you may be in a higher tax bracket when you retire than you are now, a Roth IRA or a Backdoor Roth IRA may make the most sense. It may also be in your best interest to have a combination of retirement accounts – both tax-deferred and taxable – to give yourself more flexibility to create a retirement income strategy.

These are just three examples of a laundry list of so-called “rules” that people are expected to follow when it comes to their money. A few others are:

  • Not buying a home unless you know you’ll live in it for 5+ years
  • Following the “4% rule” when creating a retirement spending plan
  • Not taking out more than your first year’s salary in student loans
  • Not putting another savings goal above retirement saving

Again, there’s nothing inherently wrong with these generalized rules. But in some cases, they may not work for you, or your lifestyle goals either now or in the future. So, what do you do when a “rule” doesn’t feel like it fits your situation?

There Is No “Right” Financial Plan

It would certainly be more cut-and-dry if each of these rules of thumb was the absolutely correct answer for everyone’s personal financial situation. Unfortunately, that’s just not realistic. Every person or family is completely unique. From the type of lifestyle they want when they retire, to the things, people, or organizations they value right now – everyone has a different approach to living life. If we’re all so different, why would we think one blanket-statement rule would be able to guide our financial decisions?

In a recent blog post, I talk about the need for a financial plan that evolves as you do. Essentially, the plan you put together is never going to be 100% right, even if you work with a professional like myself. That’s because your financial needs, values, goals, hopes, and dreams are all going to change with time. Creating a plan that’s guided by the general rules that I listed above isn’t a bad idea, but it’s a better idea to embrace a money strategy that’s crafted based on your life – not someone else’s ideal or hypothetical situation.

Editor’s Note: The summary bullets for this article were chosen by Seeking Alpha editors.

Why Adviser Rankings May Not Be All They Seem

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