What is in Your Financial Plan?
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan”. Most investors daydream and think about what their retirement will look like, wishing retirement will be as fun and enjoyable as possible, while having enough money to take care of them for as long as they live. Planning for retirement and other financial situations is one of the best ways to ensure those wishes and dreams turn into reality.
Nearly three-quarters of wealthy investors have a financial plan. Only 11 percent of investors never plan on creating a financial plan. Eighty-three percent of those who have a financial plan created it for retirement. Wealthy investors also prefer an ongoing financial plan versus a static one. Plans are only as good as how closely someone follows them. Only half of wealthy investors follow their financial plans very closely.
Investors are very clear as to what they would like to have included in their financial plans. Over ninety percent of investors expect to have a statement of net worth, financial statement, cash flow analysis, tax planning, retirement planning, investments, real estate ownership, and estate planning recommendations. The only components that less than three-quarters of investors believe should be included in a financial plan are ones that are highly specialized topics, such as business succession planning, funding for special needs children, or education funding.
Some investors don’t have a financial plan. The most common reasons for not having a financial plan are the belief that the investor can do it themselves, or they just haven’t gotten around to it. Those two answers are very connected because those who feel they can do it themselves may find that they won’t get around to completing the financial plan. Having an advisor helps keep the process on track and get to a customized, finished plan that is constantly being re-evaluated, which 71 percent of wealthy investors prefer an ongoing plan versus a static one.
What type of advisor is best to create a financial plan? Twenty-two percent of investors indicate they used an Independent Financial Planner, while 17 percent used a Full Service Broker. Less than 10 percent used an Investment Manager or an Independent Investment Advisor. Over a quarter of investors set the financial plan up themselves.
Regardless of who creates the financial plan, the majority of investors believe it is important to have a plan, with specific objectives to help reach goals. The setting of benchmarks and a disciplined savings plan is the way 68 percent of wealthy investors believe they will achieve their financial goals. If you already have a financial plan, talk to your advisor about doing a review of the plan, or review the plan yourself to see if anything has changed. If you do not have a financial plan yet, consider working with a financial professional to accomplish this and increase your likelihood or achieving all your financial goals.