Think back to the first meeting you had with your financial planners. It probably started the way most introductory advisor meetings begin. You shake hands, take a seat at an oversized conference table, and stare up at a screen that spans the entire wall in front of you. The large screen stares back with an overwhelming mix of black lines, red arrows, ticker symbols, bar graphs...your eyes don’t know where to focus first.
Then your new advisors, with their gray suits and wide smiles, look at you and ask, ‘Why don’t we take a look at your portfolio?”
What so many professionals in the financial planning industry focus on during that first meeting - and most meetings after that - are the investment tools and products they can sell you. You can tell because they always seem to jump headfirst into giving you a market update - how has the S&P index been performing in the past 12 months and what market trends are we seeing that could impact your portfolio. Very often they’ll discuss alternative investment options to the ones your old firm had you funneling your money into.
There’s no question that market trends and mutual fund performance are important stuff. It just shouldn’t be the starting point of your financial planning discussion. Why? Because how can you determine which investments make the most sense if you don’t know what goals you’re working towards?
Meaningful financial planning is personal. And it starts by getting clear on your long-term goals and what you want your life to look like years down the road.
Financial Planning Starts By Taking a Journey Down Your Financial Road Map®
The first question your financial advisor should be asking you when you begin working together is, “What’s important about money to you?”
Is it security? Freedom? Early retirement? Taking your children on vacation each summer?
By asking this first question first, your advisor can help you understand the difference between your money and your goals - and how to start looking at your finances as the tools with which to pursue and achieve those goals.
This first question should be followed up with a series of others that work together to uncover your core values, what holds meaning in your life, and your underlying purpose. Your answers will begin to form a path from where you are today to where you want to go tomorrow - your Financial Road Map®.
To Reach Your Goals, You Have to Know How to Get There
Stages Planning is one of only a handful of financial planning firms around the country that is pioneering this shift towards purpose-driven financial planning. The first meeting we have with every prospective client is a discovery call where we ask questions and develop a financial roadmap.
We start by identifying your life goals and getting clarity around why they’re important to you. These goals are placed at the end of your roadmap. Then we start to travel backward up the road, charting a course from where you want to be - your life goals - to where you are today.
After that first meeting, you leave with your financial roadmap in your hands. It’s only then that you’re ready to start planning and investing in a way that points you directly towards your most important goals.
With Your Financial Road Map® in Place, Financial Planning Becomes Personal
When you have a financial roadmap guiding you, your financial goals and your life goals perfectly align.
With careful financial planning, your goal to retire early becomes attainable because you’ve already charted a course to get there.
By developing your financial roadmap, you discovered that financial security in retirement means knowing your expenses are forever taken care of, with enough left to visit your grandkids often and take every trip on your bucket list. And now, you’re planning to make that a reality.
We all have life goals. And we all deserve a financial roadmap to help us make our goals a reality.
What’s important to you about your finances? Whatever your goals, we’d love to help you reach them. Contact us to start the first of many conversations about your financial wellbeing. Our team will work with you to develop your personal financial roadmap and chart a course towards your goals, so you can live the life you want and deserve.
The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. The Financial Road Map® is registered by Bachrach and Associates, Inc. All rights reserved.