If you want to achieve your most cherished goals, you have to make your money work hard for you — and that means putting together a systematic and attainable plan.
According to many financial experts, the success of a long-range savings and investment plan is predicated not on the rate of return, but on the use of a systematic plan.
A financial plan, a central component to any comprehensive investment process, can help you avoid expensive financial mistakes that can seriously damage your financial health, including taking on too much debt, not saving enough and placing too much of your financial assets in investments with a high level of risk.
A Comprehensive Investment Process
In developing a comprehensive investment plan, you need to start by gathering information. By taking a careful look at your assets and liabilities, insurance coverage, how long you have to save for retirement and the tax status of your various accounts, you can better prepare for your future.
As you are reviewing your current financial situation, you will want to identify issues and opportunities. Depending on where you are in your financial life cycle, you may have specific short- and long-term goals to consider.
- During the Wealth Accumulation phase, as you are gathering and building assets, you may also be establishing your career and family, planning for your children’s education and saving for retirement.
- During the Wealth Distribution phase, when you have built a strong portfolio of assets, you may be considering retirement, purchasing a second home, helping your children financially and developing an estate plan.
- The Wealth Transfer phase represents the culmination of a successful strategy as you prepare to transfer your wealth to your heirs and favorite charities in a tax-advantaged way, both during your life and at death.
All of this information should be factored into your financial plan. A Financial Advisor can evaluate where you are financially and help you plan for the future.
Next, you and your Financial Advisor need to develop an investment strategy to put your financial plan into action.
This strategy should consider risk vs. reward, proper asset allocation and portfolio diversification. Together, you and your Financial Advisor can develop a plan designed to minimize risk and maximize opportunities that can help you reach your goals.
Once your plan is designed, you need to implement it. Your Financial Advisor will help you choose quality investments to put your strategies to work.
Regular reviews of your investment plan help ensure that your asset allocation and investment strategies continue to meet your changing needs.
Article approved by Robert W. Baird & Co. for Matthew Cash, Financial Advisor at the Reston office of Robert W. Baird & Co., member SIPC. Matt has 9 years of financial services industry experience, and can be reached at 571.203.1677, or [email protected]. Robert W. & Co. does not offer tax or legal advice.