The Financial Planning Process:
How You Can Prepare for the Road Ahead

Russ Thornton
Russ Thornton
Retirement advisor

When it comes to lifestyle financial planning, where do you start? What are the biggest priorities? What information do you need to know or find before you get the financial planning process going? Sometimes even getting started involves more questions than answers!

If that feels familiar, don’t worry. Embarking on a new financial journey can often feel hugely overwhelming and uncertain, but it doesn’t need to stay that way. With the right tools, questions, and resources, you can turn your uncertainty into a great jumping off point for achieving your goals. Here’s how to get started.

Start With the Big Picture

There are probably a lot of things on your mind right now, so at first, you may feel confused about where to start. Begin with introspection; write down some of the things that are important to you – your goals, desires, dreams, and ambitions. It may seem too broad to be practical, but starting with the big picture makes it much easier to dig into more complicated particulars later.

Don’t Worry About the Particulars

Should you invest in mutual funds or real estate? What is the best distribution of your assets? How much risk should you embrace? These are all valid questions, but they’re not good starting points. Set them aside for now, and focus instead on what’s important to you in terms of your overall lifestyle. Your financial planner will help you evaluate your best choices and options, but they can only do so if they know what your ultimate goals are. Spend some time thinking about what financial comfort means to you, or what you want your retirement to look like. Once you know where you want to end up, it’ll be easier to build a plan to get you there.

Think Biographically

In thinking about your priorities and values, consider your past and future as much as your present situation. Where have you been, and where do you see yourself in the future? Thinking about your lifestyle and how it has changed over time can be extremely helpful for developing a sense of what’s most important to you. We don’t want to ignore your history – we want to use it to understand and identify what you’re dealing with now, and how best to manage it.

It may feel daunting to get started but just remember: this is only the beginning, and your financial advisor will be with you every step of the way. The most important thing is just to focus on your best life possible – what does it look like? We want you to make smart lifestyle decisions for a strong financial future. What that means, though, is largely up to you. Take the time to focus on what’s most important to you, and we’ll help make sure that you build in the right direction.

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Written by

Russ Thornton

Retirement advisor

I’m a retirement advisor with more than 25 years of professional experience. My mission is to help women retire comfortably, without having to worry about money. I invite you to explore my website.