Options That Make



DIY Financial Plan

A financial plan is an all-inclusive outline of your finances. It is a strategy that will guide your finances both now and in the future. Financial planning skills ultimately enable an individual to set financial goals and achieve them.

Anyone can quickly obtain the ability to create and achieve financial success. Conducting a financial plan for yourself is essential to your financial success whether you currently have a financial plan or never made one. Making a plan yourself has several benefits: added confidentiality, increased depth of knowledge, and prudent safety precautions. The first step in creating a financial plan is to have the awareness that you need one.

What is a Financial Plan?

As a financial planner for over a decade, I explain financial planning as an illustration of your current finances combined with a strategy to help you accomplish your future goals. You periodically update the plan because as you change, your analysis should change too. As the adage goes, the only thing certain is change.

Am I the Only Person Without a Financial Plan?

If you don’t have a financial plan, you aren’t alone! According to a recent study conducted by Fidelity Investments, 82 percent of all Americans do not have a financial plan. Even more egregious, 75 percent of baby boomers are among them. Aren’t they retiring? Boomers are old enough to know better!

Over several years of initiating and listening to others engage with clients, these reported figures are not surprising to me. Creating a financial plan for a client always begins with a conversation. A typical phone call sounds like this:

Advisor:          “Thank you for choosing us to invest your hard-earned money! We can assist you further by providing you with a customized financial plan. Our goal is to use our extensive industry knowledge to help you grow and protect your money. Suppose you like our complimentary, professional advice. In that case, I will be your direct contact who knows you and understands your circumstances so I can efficiently assist you and your family with all your investment service needs.”

Client:             “NO!”

Advisor:          “Let me recap to make sure I understand. You already chose to put your money at this institution because you trust our company. You already have funds here, so there is no hassle of changing your funds to another firm. All our services are completely free of charge, so getting our opinion will never cost you a dime. I am an experienced financial advisor who has helped hundreds of clients like you and is fully licensed by the federal and state authorities. You will probably need service on your accounts later, so you can call me directly and trust that I will get the job done. Will you give me a few minutes to create a quick plan?”

Client:             “HELL NO!” – Click, the client hangs up the phone.

Reasons for Declining a Financial Plan

Fidelity’s study went a step further and tallied up the reasons respondents refused a financial plan.

  • Twenty percent stated: “I feel like I am too far behind for it to make a difference.”

My response: The adage “it’s better late than never” is a perfect response to this sentiment. Very wealthy people have a clue that everything will be okay. In this case, a financial plan is still essential to eliminate waste and make sure that your behavior reflects your ideal intentions. Just imagine your money after you pass away when your kids inherit either your bank account or your bills. Hopefully, if you have left them something they can put in their pocket, they will use the money wisely. My point is that even when you’re gone, it’s never too late for money.

  • Twenty-three percent cited:  “I’ve never thought of having to prepare a plan.”

My response: Anyone who lives in America and has walked into a bank, has an account at any financial institution, or is just alive should be contacted at least once by a financial institution. Every financial advisor in charge of a client’s finances has a legal obligation to KYC, Know Your Client. KYC is the foundation of the FINRA suitability criteria that every professional in finance must abide by before providing a professional recommendation. ELTOROL is also a commonly used acronym. It stands for employment status, liquidity needs, time horizon, the objective for the investment, risk tolerance, outside assets, and liabilities which entails all of the criteria that KYC represents. A financial plan is always free of charge because reputable financial institutions must have a basis for their advice. The rule is more significant than company policy. It’s a legal issue. The bottom line is that if you have your money at a financial institution or a bank, you should be assigned a financial advisor. Even if you decline their financial advice, they should have created a financial plan. If you have a financial advisor and have not made a financial plan, it’s time to shop around.

  • Twenty-two percent said: “I don’t know where to begin?”

My response: If you are in this category of people without a financial plan and are still reading this article, you have already taken the first steps. The easiest way to get a financial plan is to go to a bank or financial institution and walk up to the first person you see and declare, “I have too much money, and I don’t know what to do with all of it! Help!” Even if you only have a dollar to your name, chances are the associate’s face will light up, and you will find yourself in front and center of a professional advisor immediately. Additionally, if you only have a dollar, you need to visit your broker because a strategy to get out of debt counts as a plan!

Should You Conduct Your Financial Plan Yourself?

There are several benefits to creating your financial plan. Generally speaking, most people find it difficult to discuss money of any kind. So, when talking about personal finances with others, especially strangers, I can understand the reluctance. Creating your financial plan will give you the financial reassurance that you need without the scrutiny of onlookers, which you don’t need. It will also give you a sense of freedom to imagine your best life because you are within the bounds of complete confidentiality. As a result, your engagement with your money will increase, and you will be more likely to abide by the plan you make.

Making your financial analysis will give you insights into questions you may not know you have. If you decide to enlist a professional’s assistance, after all, you will have more meaningful conversations because you will have a fundamental basis of knowledge. That means you can make better use of your time during all of your financial encounters.

If you currently have a financial advisor and have made a financial plan, I encourage you to consider conducting your financial plan to make a comparison strongly. Ultimately, every advisor is just a person. People have biases and opinions, which are essential when it comes to money matters. For example, Fidelity Investments is a brokerage house that produces its mutual funds and employs financial representatives to sell these funds to investors. All investments are products that solve a problem. Make sure your investments align with your risk and time horizon parameters.


In conclusion, I challenge you to make a personal commitment to make a financial plan for yourself. Doing this exercise is critical to your current situation for your future regardless of what stage of life you are in or your current relationship with money.



Are You Ready to Retire?

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Does Your Budget Fit Your Family?

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Are You Ready to Retire?

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Does Your Budget Fit Your Family?

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