Planning and goal setting is the process of documenting your life goals and determining a financial strategy that will enable their achievement. Life goals can include buying a home, saving for your child’s education, or starting your own business, among many others. There's no limit to what you may want to achieve in life. With proper planning, enough time, and efficient execution, your dreams can become a reality. The earlier you start planning, the better your chances of fulfilling those dreams.
Planning and goal setting are the starting point for any successful project whether it's business related or personal in nature. PWA requires that a plan be in place prior to executing any of the other components of the PRETIRE program. It just doesn't make sense to jump into execution without knowing what you're striving for. The perfect example is in investments. You might say that an advisor can attempt to maximize return for a portfolio without knowing who owns the portfolio. That's definitely one approach. The issue with it is that investment returns are contingent on exposure to risk. Simply maximizing returns without any constraints on risk puts the portfolio in jeopardy. The advisor who attempts to manage in this way has no real downside (other than lost clients if the risk exposure blows up). After all, it's your money, not your advisor's. Instead, PWA works with you to create a plan that targets a return and includes your risk tolerance. This allows us to develop your portfolio with your goals in mind and your risk preferences addressed. The example is easily extended into the other PRETIRE components. You must have a plan in order to successfully implement a financial strategy.
Deep down inside, we all know what we want out of life. The problem is that we get so busy doing our daily routine, we lose sight of why we're doing that routine and what we should really be doing instead. Within PWA's program, you will take the time to document your goals and then talk through them with your advisor. We will help you rationalize those goals given your current situation and the time you have to achieve them. Once we understand where you want to be and have enough information about the present, we will generate a step by step plan (the action plan) to get there. Of course that's not the end of planning. There will always be changes to your needs, desires, and situation since no one lives in a static world. PWA provides continuous guidance as the unexpected changes to your life rear their ugly head. The action plan will be updated regularly and each task will be assigned to either you or your advisor. Your list of tasks will be sent to you so that you know exactly what you should be doing (i.e. so that they don't get lost in the monotony of daily activity). The action plan provides the structure necessary to "uncomplicate" the execution of the plan.
There are tons of books, magazine articles, internet sites, and software packages that can help you do your own financial planning. Some even come highly acclaimed by industry professionals. But, you may still decide you need help from a financial planner/advisor/consultant if:
you realize you don't have the expertise yourself and can't learn it from a book because it changes so frequently (e.g. planning for tax efficiency entails understanding much of the U.S. tax code).
you don't have time to create your own financial plan.
you've had a life-event that presents an immediate need which you can't solve in the required timeframe.
you could use help organizing your thoughts and documents so that the plan can be implemented effectively.
you know that you need to improve your finances, but you're not sure where/how to start.
because you're involved in your own life, you want an unbiased expert's guidance in creating a plan.
Everyone can plan, execute, and monitor their financial strategy on their own, just like they can provide their own medical attention and legal support. The question is, do you have the time, knowledge, and inclination to be your own advisor? When it comes to medicine and law, the answer for most people is no. In the case of managing your finances in a way that enables your life's goals, do you want to invest the time, learn the material, and do it yourself? If not, we want to do it for you.
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