By FPA member Paula C. Nangle, CFP®
Last Updated: June 18, 2012
Where does the time go? How many of you are asking yourselves that question as you see that you are mid-way through the year? June is often filled with transitional life-celebrations like graduations and weddings. It’s a great time to revisit your 2012 goals and plans.
The Planning and Progress Study conducted in 2012 by Northwestern Mutual asked respondents about their top priorities for improvement for the coming year. Interestingly all of the top priorities tie back to financial life planning in a significant way. Unfortunately, 45 percent don’t have a financial plan. Financial life planning is a process of comprehensively managing all of your resources to create the life you want. It’s not about using your life to create money. It helps you navigate the inevitable changes and challenges that life throws at everyone. When you really stop and think about it, almost every decision has financial implications.
Responses to the survey reported the following priorities for 2012:
- Improving health (48 percent). The most frequently stated priority has multiple ties and implications that relate to financial planning. For example, investing in a health-club membership, personal trainer, or nutritionist; purchase of health, disability or life insurance coverage and longevity planning to appropriate for your later years.
- Improving Finances (43 percent). A broad category that could be debt reduction and creating a budget, building an emergency fund, adequate savings for future goals, investment strategies just to mention a few.
- Sending more time with family and friends (31 percent). Planning helps you mindfully decide how to best spend your time and money in ways that are meaningful to you.
- Improving my education (5 percent) and advancing my career (12 percent). Both translate to your ability to earn a living and for most people, the most valuable asset you have. An integral part of any financial plan.
With so many top priorities that tie into financial planning, why do so many not have a plan? The top three reasons given were: could not find the right help, do not have enough time, and it’s too confusing.
You don’t have to go it alone; a Certified Financial Planner Professional™ from FPA can help you achieve your top priorities for the coming year and beyond. It can be confusing to find the right person to help and not all financial planners are equally qualified; seek out a CFP® Professional. A CFP® Professional is one who has been through a rigorous course of education, passed a qualifying exam, is experienced and adheres to a strict code of ethics. Many have areas of expertise to meet your specific needs.
You can use search tools available on the Financial Planning Association's website to assist you in finding a CFP® Professional that meets your individual planning needs.
Paula Nangle, CFP® is a Financial Life Planning Professional with the Marshall Financial Group in Doylestown, PA.