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Let's start with a more fundamental question: how much can I improve my
financial situation? You might be thinking, "I have a good salary, I pay
my bills on time, I know how to do my taxes, I have insurance... I'm handling
my finances pretty well; spending time and money on financial planning is
not worth it for me." Many people think this way, but often it is because
of a lack of awareness of financial opportunities and best practices.
Indeed, time spent devising and implementing a well-researched and sound
financial plan will likely yield:
More money for you and your family
Better preparation and flexibility for life changes
Increased protection against mistakes and unexpected circumstances
An investment in financial management provides peace of mind by ensuring your best odds of permanent wealth and comfort. This planned approach to success is the result of a multi-step process. You must:
Set achievable financial and personal goals
Assess your current financial health by examining your assets, liabilities, income, insurance, taxes,investments and estate plan
Develop a realistic, comprehensive plan to meet your financial goals by addressing financial weaknesses and building on financial strengths
Put your plan into action and monitor its progress
Revise your plan to accommodate changing goals, changing personal circumstances, changing financial opportunities, and changing market and tax laws
The planning process requires skill, knowledge, diligence, and discipline, but great reward makes it well worth the time and effort.
The question is, do you need professional help in order to design and
stick to an effective financial plan? To some degree, this depends on
your unique situation, but most will find that they are better off seeking
the information, expertise, experience, and discipline provided by a financial advisor.
Making quality financial decisions requires an ample commitment to learn and research. While the Internet's easy access to information has helped to make it feasible for individuals to independently manage their finances, the magnitude of investment skills and information that you need can be overwhelming. The financial world is filled with foreign concepts, esoteric language, legal rules, and difficult methodologies. Whether you want to develop a portfolio, plan for retirement, pay for college, or reach any other major financial goal, there are professionals who have spent their careers serving people with the same concern, and it is a good idea to take advantage of their experience.
For the purpose of analogy, consider the manufacturing of televisions. Since they make so many televisions, Sony has grown to be good at it. They can make a high-quality television for a just a few hundred dollars. Consider how much it would cost you to make your own television; you might be able to do it, but it would take a huge commitment of time and money to learn the science, purchase the materials, and execute the necessary procedures. And the finished product would likely be shabby in comparison. Financial decision-making is the same. You can make financial decisions by yourself or buy advice from an experienced professional. The financial decisions of individuals are commonly costly and mediocre, and, alternatively, the appropriate financial professional will make good decisions for you at a comparatively low cost.
Professional financial help goes far beyond picking stocks. Hiring an advisor arms you with expertise and resources with which to approach planning your financial future. This coaching and support can help you to smoothly endure and make the most of the circumstances in your life - career, marriage, children, assets, liabilities, etc.