Are you at a monetary crossroads? Are you ready to take the first step–only, you’re not sure which direction to go? Are you ready to take the next step–only, you’re not confident about which step is the right step?
I’m a CPA and a CFP® Professional with over 13 years of experience in the Financial Services industry. I would love to be your sounding board, your advocate, and your cheerleader. As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER, I am here to help you align your finances with your personal values. As we work together, I will help translate your money goals into an actionable Financial Plan. That’s when the really fun part starts – the part where we use your plan to identify simple, realistic steps that you can take in order to accomplish the things that really matter to you. Because when your money goals support your values, your financial accomplishments truly support you in living your best life.
In the first phase of our partnership, we will work on SORTING OUT YOUR FINANCIAL GOALS.
This step may sound deceptively simple.
Maybe you share my goal: I don’t want to have to worry about money!
But that’s not really a goal so much as a wish. A goal is something a little more concrete. For example: “I want to put my son through college so he can graduate debt-free.” Or: “I want to retire by the time I’m 60!”
Trust me, I’m right there with you.
Identifying these goals is an awesome first step. And as the list grows, it then becomes clear that we need to take a few more steps:
- Identifying the assumptions underlying each goal (How many kids am I putting through college? How many years will they be enrolled? Will they be commuting, or living at home? Public college, or private?)
- Prioritizing the goals (What are my values? What is truly important to me as a person? How are my goals in harmony with–or, at odds with– my personal values? How can I align my goals with my values? Based on my values, which of these goals are non-negotiable? Which are stretch goals?)
- Testing & Questioning the goals (What if our son goes to private school instead of public school? What if he studies for 5 years instead of 4? What if he doesn’t want to go to college at all? What if we have another child–and another tuition goal to fund? Why is it important to me that my son is debt-free at graduation? Could the experience of working to pay off some student loans be instructive?)
- Quantifying the goals (How much does a semester at that public university cost right now? How much do we think it will cost in 18 years? How much money do I need to set aside at the end of each month, if I start saving in a couple years? How much will I need to earn on the money I set aside?)
Goal setting can be a challenging – and enlightening – process. Nevertheless, I believe that we need to devote a good chunk of time to these discussions before we move on to the next steps of the Financial Planning progress.
If we move on to the next step too soon, we may miss opportunities to solidify your goals. And a Financial Plan that is based on poorly defined goals will have little-to-no value in your everyday life. Indeed, a vital part of my role will be to ensure that we define goals that you are truly committed to (meaning, by definition, that they must be reflective of your most dearly held values).
Having concrete goals is truly the foundation of a meaningful and actionable Financial Plan. Once these are set – and only then – we’ll move on to Phase 2.